Logistics

Is Trivedi eyeing political reinstatement in home State Gujarat?

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 15, 2012

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Gujarat never had it so good in a Railway Budget.

So, when Mr Dinesh Trivedi, perhaps the first Gujarati to become the Railway Minister, showered his home State with gifts and goodies on Wednesday, it triggered speculation whether the original Congress leader is seeking a political reinstatement to Gujarat.

The strong reaction that his pro-reforms Budget proposals evoked against him from within his own party, Trinamool Congress, indicated that all was not well between him and party chief, Ms Mamta Banerjee. Both have said she was unaware of the Budget proposals!

Mr Trivedi, whose family hails from village Bidra in Mandvi taluka of Kutch district, had lost the Lok Sabha poll in the early 1990s against Mr Pushpdan Gadhvi of BJP.

Later, he relocated to Kolkata, joined the Janata Dal and then the Trinamool Congress.

Incidentally, Kutch is now an LS constituency reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) from where Mr Trivedi, a Brahmin, cannot contest.

The Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi's reaction to the Railway Budget was: “a reverse-gear Budget.”

Rail bonanza

For, Mr Trivedi's bonanza to Gujarat includes a new railway coach manufacturing facility in Kutch; a dedicated Railway Design Centre at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad; 14 new express trains; modernisation of six stations — all in North Gujarat where Mr Narendra Modi hails from — extension of some existing routes, surveys and gauge conversion of many tracks and lines, and more.

Even Kandla Port officials said they could provide 200-300 acres of land at Gandhidham for the proposed coach factory.

“We have enough land and we will examine when the railways makes such a demand,” an official told Business Line.

Not just this — Mr Trivedi's deputy, the Minister of State for Railways, Mr Tushar Chaudhary, Congress MP from Anand, also managed to get three trains in his areas of influence: two MEMU (Main-line Electrical Multiple Unit) and a DEMU (Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit).

The Unrealistic Realist

Delhi Bureau adds: Mr Dinesh Trivedi kept talking about five year projects in his record budget speech, and leading Railways through the transformation journey. The irony is that his own tenure may be less than a year (he took charge on July 13th 2011).

But within that short period, the laurels he has earned among the 13 lakh railway officials and some 11 lakh pensioners will be the envy of many in political circles.

Overnight, he has gifted the Indian Railways a Budget Document that presents the best option for railwaymen in the current backdrop.

Many Railway officials admit that they eyed him with the usual scepticism that they carry for politicians. But they were pleasantly surprised by the Minister's honest, transparent approach over time.

During the Budget speech preparation, he had told Railway officials, “I want each of the statement to be backed by action.”

Many officials Business Line spoke to were pleasantly surprised by his honesty, transparency and bold decision to do what is best for the Railways. The officials were repeatedly told to ensure that there is no “window dressing” of the budget document.

“I am a professional. I have a job to do. I will do my best,” Mr Trivedi had told Business Line. In the process he has also made it difficult for his successor by setting extremely high standards.

“This Budget speech will be one from heart. When you read it, you can hear me talk,” he had said.But, did he have an inkling of the fallout of what he was going to do? Just take a look at his recent statement: “In the cross-fire, if I lose my life, then so be it.”

He sure has made the job for his successor extremely tough by setting such high standards.

> mamuni@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 15, 2012
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