TMC wants Cong to sack Trivedi by tomorrow

Kolkata/New Delhi: Trinamool Congress expects the Congress leadership to keep its "word" on removal of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi even as he asserted that Railways is nobody`s fiefdom. Trinamool Congress sources said that the party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is of the view that the Congress leadership and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have assured her that Trivedi would be replaced with another party nominee Mukul Roy within two days after Friday`s presentation of the Union Budget.

They said Mamata has not set any deadline but would like the Railway minister to be replaced by tomorrow. "I do not want to stick to the ministry. But I also do not want to run away. The Prime Minister has to decide on it (his resignation). There should not be any politics with the ministry. Railway kisi ka jagir nahin hai (the Railways are nobody`s fiefdom)." Trivedi told reporters outside his house in the national capital. Trivedi, who has insisted that Mamata should give it in writing that he should resign, said, "I have high regard for her. She is a good human being."

He said, "I have no problem, I have lot of respect and regard for Mamata Banerjee… She is a great leader and is very much in her right to have her opinion, and I respect her opinion… "There doesn`t have to be everyday communication. I have lots of love and regards for her. This confusion happened if (TMC MP) Sudip Bandopadhyay had not spoken in Parliament… Then things would have been clear. Parliament has its own sanctity," he said.

He said Bandopadhyay had stated in Lok Sabha that the Trinamool has not asked the Railway Minister to resign. The political spat had got murkier when the party chief whip in Lok Sabha Kalyan Banerjee had asked Trivedi to resign following which the Minister had asked Mamata to give the instruction in writing.

61-year-old Trivedi, who incurred the wrath of his party by hiking passenger fares in the Railway Budget, appeared to be digging his heels when he said he had a Constitutional duty to pilot the Budget he had presented in Parliament. Trivedi had said that he will reply to the discussion on the Rail Budget presented by him on Wednesday. Mamata had told reporters in Kolkata that she had already said whatever she had to say and put the ball in the Prime Minister`s court for a decision.

"Now the government has to decide. Mukul Roy will be our candidate for the Railway minister," she had said on her demand for removal of Trivedi and replacing him with Roy. Trivedi`s defiance puts the Prime Minister and the Congress leadership in a bind in which they have to decide on the removal of the Railway Minister or allow his continuance at the risk of possible threat of withdrawal of support by Mamata Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress. Trinamool Congress with 19 MPs is the second largest constituent of the UPA.