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Friday, 16 March 2012

Parliament rocked over Trivedi issue


Parliament rocked over Trivedi issue

New Delhi, March 15 (PTI): As Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi held on defiantly saying it was his duty to get the Railway Budget passed, Parliament was rocked on Thursday over his Trinamool Congress party's demand that he resign and the government's statement that this was under "active consideration".
"The Railway Minister has not resigned. The Prime Minister has received a communication from Trinamool Congress Chairperson Mamata Banerjee which was under active consideration," Leader of the House and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha.
On replacing Trivedi by another TMC nominee, Mukul Roy, as demanded by Mamata, the Prime Minister told reporters outside the House that "if anything like this develops, we will consider it".
Trivedi appeared defiant when he told reporters outside Parliament that "I have a duty to get the Railway Budget I had presented passed in Parliament. I will not run away from my duty.
"But if my leader Mamata Banerjee or the Prime Minister asks me to resign, I will do so," he told journalists in a brief interaction without taking further questions.
Trivedi, who incurred the wrath of his leader by his proposals for an across-the-board hike in passenger fares, attended the Lok Sabha and kept smiling when Leader of the Opposition raked up the issue and demanded whether he is still the minister and whether his budget is "alive or dead".
Other Opposition leaders also latched on to the issue and attacked the government saying it was coalition politics at its worst.
Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to know the fate of the budget, which has now become property of the House and what the government proposes to do.
Mukherjee hit back at the Opposition, particularly the BJP: "It is not unusual in a coalition government (to come across such problems)," he said. "Those who ran a coalition government for six years know well how many times they had to deal with the coalition partners....These gentlemen know much better than anybody else."
Mukherjee said the House will be informed as and when the government takes a decision on Mamata's communication.
He did not disclose the details of the letter, which was received late last night. In Lok Sabha, Trivedi occupied the front row, which is usually occupied by senior ministers.
Mukherjee's statement came after an impromptu debate in the House with Opposition members seeking suspension of Question Hour on the plea that an "unprecedented and unusual" situation had arisen following the reported resignation of Trivedi.
Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed the notices of suspension of Question Hour but allowed Swaraj and others to speak on the issue.
The leader of the Trinamool Congress in the House, Sudip Bandopadhyay, said his party members have not asked the Railway Minister to tender his resignation.
"The matter has to be settled between my leader and the Prime Minister," Bandopadhyay said.
He went ahead and said that the government "is totally settled and would complete its term".
Trivedi's proposal to hike fares in the Railway Budget earned him the ire of the Trinamool chief who sent a late night communication to the Prime Minister suggesting that Trivedi is replaced by Mukul Roy.