Trivedi dares Mamata to expel him

Smug Cong fishes in troubled waters

Trivedi dares Mamata to expel him

The tug of war between Trinamool Congress and the man in the line of fire - Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi - continued on Saturday even as it became apparent that the latter was trying his best to get expelled from the party so that he remained an unattached member of the Lok Sabha.

Trinamool president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee made her party whip in the Lower House Kalyan Banerjee speak to Trivedi and ask him to submit resignation immediately.

However, Trivedi rebuffed him, saying he will put in paper sonly if Mamata instructed him in writing.
Party sources attributed the defiant stance of Trivedi, who drew the ire of Mamata as he effected an across-the-board hike in railway fares in his railway budget on March, to a desire get himself expelled. In such a case, he would remain unattached member of the party, out of the reach of party whip.

There is, however, a grey area. Even if a member is expelled, it has to be communicated to the Speaker by the party. If it is not done, the expelled member will not legally become unattached member.

Amid the drama, the Congress-led UPA is watching the situation, not obliging Mamata. The chief minister spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday evening, when he is said to have indicated to her that the resignation would be sought after his (PM’s) reply to the debate on President’s speech in Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Congress, which is apparently emboldened by Samajwadi Party’s promise to support it in case the Trinamool decided to withdraw support to the government, is not exactly in a hurry to show the door to Trivedi in order to oblige Mamata. It has coolly lobbed the ball back into Mamata’s court.
Kalyan Banerjee, during his telephonic talk with Trivedi, told him either to resign and make a graceful exit, or get sacked.

 “As chief whip I told him when the party does not want you to continue as minister, why are you not gracefully coming out? He said unless the party chairperson gives him in writing he won’t,” chief whip Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata.

 The reaction came after Trivedi told reporters in Delhi that he was ready to resign but that should be conveyed to him in writing.

“On the floor of Parliament it is said no resignation has been demanded. And after that, now, I am being asked over phone to quit. So I should know the truth,”Trivedi told reporters in Delhi.

“I am a responsible minister. I have a constitutional responsibility. If the party wants me to quit, the party chairperson should write to me. I am saying this to avoid confusion,” he remarked.
Kalyan Banerjee said: “It was only a party decision that he should become minister. Similarly the party has been clear in its stand that he should quit.”

 Earlier, hinting at the resignation of Trivedi, Mamata said, “We have renominated Mukul Roy as our Rajya Sabha candidate. He is our general secretary and future railway minister”. 
“Now the (UPA) government has to decide.” she said. In reply to a query, she snapped, “Don't ask me anything. Talk to Kalyan (Banerjee).”

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