When the Mamata Banerjee confidant Mukul Roy got inducted into the Cabinet as Railway Minister, the only task given to him was to wash away all the important recommendations made by the unruly Dinesh Trivedi. Even when Trinamool Congress chief made it very clear to Trivedi that fare hike in sleeper and general classes would not be tolerated, the latter went ahead and proposed fare hikes across categories. The 12th pass Roy, with little or no experience of being a minister of the cabinet rank, probably took Banerjee’s directives with utmost sincerity. Roy literally threw cold water on budget papers while announcing the rollbacks on fare, independent tariff regulatory authority and the proposal to introduce two members in the Rail Board. Droplets also reached UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi sitting next to Roy in the Lower House. Roy, however, remained unfazed as he clearly understands who got him here and who should he please.
Raghu’s Racing Remark
The very vocal RJD member Raghuvansh Prasad Singh was recently indicted with a graceful suggestion from the chair in the Lower House. When the House was deliberating on the controversial poverty figures calculated by the government think tank—Planning Commission— every party was permitted to air its views on the issue. Keeping in view the time constraints, every member was given five minutes to express his/her party’s stand on the matter. But all time clocks in the House went awry when Singh began his brief speech on the issue. The Member of the Parliament, who comes from the cow-belt region, enjoys switching to issues irrespective of the issue being discussed then. After forcing him to sit, the chair conveyed to Singh that the chair also had an unfinished desire that for once he finish his speech within stipulated time. Not known for keeping his mouth shut, Singh retorted, “I am very poor at counting.”
Fully understanding the reaction of the Opposition and his own party, the then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi took refuge in annexure. Trivedi consciously did not elaborate controversial issues in his speech and asked the members to refer to annexure for details. This act of Trivedi invited an apt response from the Finance Minister in NDA’s regime Yashwant Sinha. Coming out of the parliament, Sinha said that virtually everything was buried in the annexure. How can people and experts respond to the Budget when announcements are not clearly announced. He also extended a suggestion to Trivedi to change his name to Dinesh Annexure Trivedi.