TMC to decide fate of Trivedi: Cong

New Delhi: Congress today gave signals that the Government was in no hurry about the exit of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi but made it clear that his fate had to be decided by Trinamool Congress. The party also gave indications that there appears to have been a re-thinking over the issue within the ally in last two days and hence it could buy time at least till the passage of the railway budget.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Manish Tewari said the decision over Trivedi was the "internal matter" of Trinamool Congress but also made it clear that the Railway Budget was now the "property" of the House and a decision on it would have to be taken by all. Significantly, his remarks came close on the heels of Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay suggesting that a decision on Trivedi`s fate could be taken any time as his party supremo Mamata Banerjee held talks with Prime Minister.

"As of now I do not think the country is without a Railway Minister…we will cross the bridge when it comes," he said when asked whether Trivedi will reply to the discussion on the Railway budget likely on Monday or any of a Junior Minister, the Finance Minister or a new Railway Minister. A senior party leader speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "The bottomline is that we are going to run this government and have to run the government for the full term and hence will have to deal with these pulls and pressures".

He also ruled out the possibility of "forsaking" the government for anybody. There is a view in the party that leaders of Trinamool Congress have mellowed down in the last two days and two days are at hand for working out a more amicable solution. Responding to queries on whether the government could take a tough posture if Banerjee remained adamant on immediate exit of Trivedi, a Congress leader said so much depends on the way the talks move.

The leader, however, added, "It`s not that you have suitors lining up to your doors" thereby indicating that the government is not likely to take any extreme stand on the issue like risking snapping ties with Trinamool even as it has opened channels with the Samajwadi Party, which has repeatedly said it would back the government even if TMC withdraws support.

A section in the party believes that TMC is "not immune to public opprobrium" and hence its reconsidering the decision on Trivedi`s resignation cannot be ruled out for the time being if a partial rollback in fares is effected. In a bid to keep Mamata Banerjee in good humour, the Congress is not coming out with a categorical response on the issue of fare hike with Tewari maintaining that party`s stand on the specifics of the Railway Budget will unfold in the House during the debate on it. The tone and tenor of Trinamool Congress appeared to have become subdued with Bandopadhyay saying that his party was not in a confrontationist mode.