Indicating that the exit of Dinesh Trivedi as Railway Minister was a matter of time, Trinamool Congress on Thursday said its priority was to ensure a “complete rollback” of the fare hike announced in the rail budget.
“Our priority is complete rollback of the hike. How the government does it, only they have to decide. They can do it after the discussion on the rail budget or before that. It is only the government which will have to decide,” party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay told reporters in New Delhi.
To a question on the replacement of Mr. Trivedi as Railway Minister, Mr. Bandopadhyay said, “It is a closed chapter”.
Asked whether they would wait till the debate on the rail budget was over and a rollback announced, he said, “I only hope that the rollback will be announced by a new (Railway) Minister... Wait for the discussion (on rail budget) to take place.”
Noting that the debate on rail budget was slated on Thursday, Mr. Bandopadhyay said, “Now it will only be next week. It has been deferred. This shows the government is also taking its time.”
He said the Congress has “also agreed to the principle that in a coalition, the parties send names of those who are to be inducted into the Council of Ministers or change the names”.
Mr. Bandopadhyay was replying to questions after a meeting of party MPs in New Delhi. The meeting came after he held consultations with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue in the Lok Sabha on the sidelines of debate on the President’s address.
The Trinamool leader went to Mr. Mukherjee’s seat apparently to discuss the Trivedi issue. The Finance Minister was seen telling him something and Mr. Bandopadhyay grabbed a notepad and took down the points.
Soon thereafter, Mr. Bandopadhyay and other party members — including Mukul Roy, whom Mamata Banerjee has named as the replacement for Mr. Trivedi as Railway Minister — left the House.
Mr. Mukherjee also left within a few seconds.