NEW DELHI, March 14 � Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi tonight faced the prospect of losing his job for proposing a hike in passenger fares after which his party TMC threatened to replace him, thereby plunging the UPA government into a crisis, reports PTI.
The suave, US-educated Trivedi, 61, found himself in a piquant situation immediately after he presented his maiden Railway budget in which he proposed an across-the-board hike in passenger fares to mop up an additional Rs.4,000 crore for spending on railway safety.
On a cue from TMC boss, Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, party MPs attacked the hike and demanded a roll back in keeping with her populist politics which has resulted in repeated trouble for the UPA government over issues such as FDI in retail and petrol price hike.
However, the party upped the ante tonight by announcing that a delegation of its MPs would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow and press for withdrawal of the increase. If there was no no roll back, they would name someone else for Trivedi�s job.
Landed with an unexpected political crisis, Singh denied tonight that Trivedi had resigned and maintained that the government had the numbers in Parliament and was stable.
What could have angered Banerjee was Trivedi�s steadfast defence of his budgetary proposals in the interest of the railways and the country. �I have pulled the railways out of ICU,� he said.