Promises rollback once Mukul Roy replaces Dinesh Trivedi

Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday gave a new twist to the developments triggered by Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi's proposal to increase fares by accusing the Congress of being behind the decision.

“The crisis has been fuelled by the Congress,” she reportedly said at a meeting of party legislators on Thursday — ahead of the budget session in the West Bengal Assembly.

Ms. Banerjee, who has publicly expressed her disapproval of Mr. Trivedi's proposals and said on Wednesday that she would not allow any increase in the fares, said at the meeting that party general secretary Mukul Roy — whom she wants to see as Mr. Trivedi's successor — will ensure a rollback of the hike.

“None above party”

Stating that “none is above the party,” Ms. Banerjee said that neither she nor other senior leaders of the party were consulted by Mr. Trivedi on the hike.

She wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday evening, asking him to replace Mr. Trivedi.

At the meeting, Ms. Banerjee questioned the decision to increase the fares. She pointed out even if the fares in trains such as the Rajdhani Express were increased, the hike should not have been proposed for trains where the common man felt the pinch.

Her statements were unanimously supported by all legislators. She also directed them to campaign against the hike in their respective constituencies.

Trivedi ‘Mir Jafar'

Ms. Banerjee's direction to mobilise public opinion against the Railway Minister was reflected in the comments made by the State's Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim later in the day. He described Mr. Trivedi as “Mir Jafar.”

“He has acted like Mir Jafar. It is an act of betrayal. He has digressed from the basic principles of the party,” Mr. Hakim said. Ruling out any division in the party, he said that one person cannot divide the party, adding that the entire party was one in its support to Ms. Banerjee who “is the face of the party”.