Monday, 19 March 2012

Didi flies, Dinesh and Delhi jump Taking no chances, CM lands in capital

Didi flies, Dinesh and Delhi jump 
Taking no chances, CM lands in capital

March 18: Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi resigned this evening, hastily ending a teasing game on a day Trinamul and the Congress tested each other's nerves and minutes before a provoked Mamata Banerjee boarded a plane to Delhi to personally chaperone the change of guard at Rail Bhavan.
Although Trivedi's assurance that he would resign reached Mamata while she was on her way to Calcutta airport, the chief minister proceeded to Delhi to pile pressure on the Centre and secure the coronation of Mukul Roy as the new railway minister, Trinamul sources said.
The signals from the Congress throughout the day — the party fielded a candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections in Bengal in spite of Trinamul's objections and made more noises about roping in the Samajwadi Party — were such that Mamata felt she should be in the capital, the sources added.
In the afternoon, Trinamul sources said, Mamata decided to go to Delhi with the ultimatum that "either Trivedi be made to resign or I pull out".
"The leader will decide," party MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said in reply to a question if Trinamul could withdraw. (Trivedi had not resigned when the question was asked.) Pressed further, Sudip added: "It is either yes or no. It is for you to decide."
Trivedi faxed his resignation to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) after government managers, rattled by the news of Mamata rushing to Delhi, directed him to put in his papers, sources said. A Trinamul source said V. Narayanasamy, the minister of state in the PMO, spoke to Trivedi.
That Trivedi would step down was never in doubt but the minister — as well as the Union government — had prolonged Mamata's discomfiture by refusing to spell out in public when he would resign. The Prime Minister reportedly was keen that he should pilot the railway budget and then quit.
Trivedi reversed his earlier stand of "why should I talk to Mamata?" and spoke to her.
"I spoke to Mamata to clear the confusion…. Mamataji clearly told me that the party had decided that I should resign and I, like a loyal soldier, followed it," Trivedi, who appeared pale compared with the adrenaline rush of the past four days, told reporters at his residence.
Till the evening, sources close to Trivedi had said "he is relaxing and there is no question of him resigning today".
At Calcutta airport, Mamata called over reporters and said: "Yes, we have spoken. He (Trivedi) will abide by the party's decision. He has said 'I will send my resignation'."
As she turned away, she looked back and added: "He (Trivedi) is still with the party."
Trinamul sources said Mamata would now focus on installing Roy in Rail Bhavan. She wants to get clarity over the matter with the UPA government, amid signals that the Prime Minister was reluctant to elevate Roy, now a junior minister, to the key cabinet post.
Before Mamata landed in Delhi, government sources had said they were not aware of any "immediate" plan to promote Roy. They said finance minister Pranab Mukherjee could pilot the railway budget.
But it remains to be seen what the Prime Minister will do if Mamata insists that Roy be sworn in tomorrow itself.

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