‘TMC Run By Abhishek, PK’: Dinesh Trivedi After RS Resignation
The veteran TMC politician, speaking to The Quint, said that he could not reach Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is not run by Mamata Banerjee anymore, but by Abhishek (Banerjee, Mamata's nephew), poll strategist Prashant Kishor and people like Derek O'Brien", said Trinamool Congress' Dinesh Trivedi, after dramatically announcing his resignation from the Rajya Sabha on the floor on the Upper House, on 12 February.
Speaking to The Quint, Trivedi said that the party was expecting him to "keep quiet like the rest". "But I could not keep quiet anymore", he said.
"Mamata Should've Called Me"
A former Railway Minister in the Union government, Trivedi said that in spite of knowing that he was unhappy with the party, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo, Mamata Banerjee, did not reach out to him.
“I started the party with Mamata. She should have called me, instead of sending all these “mosquitoes” to come and placate me”, said Trivedi to The Quint.
Trivedi also vocally criticised Prashant Kishor, whose political consultancy firm, the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) is handling the 2021 election campaign for the TMC. Trivedi said that Kishor was "taking over the activities of the party".
With this, Trivedi joins a long list of Trinamool leaders who, in the recent past, have expressed their "disappointment" over the reigns of the party being managed by Abhishek and Kishor. While some of these leaders were placated by the TMC, many have since defected to the BJP.
"The Chief Minister is too busy. She does not have time to heed these concerns that many in the party have brought up", Trivedi said.
"In Bengal now, when you have to make an additional floor in your own home, you need to take permission from TMC people", he added.
"Will the public not think about that when casting their vote?", he asked.
"Prashant Kishor thinks he is the most genius political mind and that BJP will not get even a 100 seats, but the fact is that with each passing month, their hold over the state is growing".
Trivedi further said that the corrupt elements within the party were being given more power and allowed a free run.
Sources in the Trinamool Congress tell The Quint that Trivedi has been in talks with the BJP and is also expected to join the party soon.
Trivedi's History With The Trinamool
Dinesh Trivedi joined politics as a member of the Congress party in the 1980s and thereafter joined the Janata Dal in 1990. He was a member of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat for the Janata Dal from 1990-96.
In 1998, Trivedi joined Mamata Banerjee to form the Trinamool Congress and became the party's first general secretary. He represented the party in the Rajya Sabha after that from 2002-2008.
He contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Barrackpore on a TMC ticket and won, joining the Union cabinet as Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.
"I started the Trinamool looking at Mamata, but nothing is in her hands anymore", says Trivedi.
His problems with the Chief Minister, however, began in 2011, when Mamata resigned as Raliway Minister to become Chief Minister of West Bengal and Trivedi was brought in take over the portfolio.
Unhappy with his decision to introduce a passenger fare hike in the Railway Budget of 2012, Mamata Banerjee had then written to the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to replace Trivedi with Mukul Roy, now in the BJP.
Trivedi was, however, fielded from the Barrackpore constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha election on a Trinamool ticket and he won.
Thereafter, Trivedi started having an internal rift with then Trinamool leader Arjun Singh over the Barrackpore constituency.
The party, however, fielded Trivedi from the constituency in 2019. Arjun Singh defected to the BJP, and defeated him from the seat.
The same year, Mamata offered him the position of Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC), but Trivedi refused.
In 2020, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the Trinamool Congress.
'No Electoral Impact': Trinamool
The, Trinamool, on its part, maintains that while Trivedi's exit from the Rajya Sabha and possibly from the party will cause a lot of media hoopla, it is unlikely to have any electoral impact.
Insiders in Trinamool also point out that Trivedi had tried to voice his concerns against the corporatisation of the party by Kishor and his team.
"There are a final round of surveys that I-PAC is carrying out before the final candidate list for the elections are decided. Those who have learnt that their names are not on the list, or that candidates of their choice have been not been included, are grumbling", said a TMC source.
While the tensions between the Trinamool and Trivedi were known, the manner in which he quit came as surprise to both the party and Prashant Kishor's consultancy.
The Trinamool's chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, has questioned how Trivedi was allowed to speak by the Chair when his party had no time left to speak.
The BJP, as per usual, has welcomed Trivedi into the party if he is so interested.
"Any person is good and honest in Bengal politics is not respected in the TMC and they can't stay in the party. Because of the aunt-nephew combo, no one can work in the party. I met Trivedi at an airport a year ago when he was saying that the state of the party was very bad. We haven't discussed anything with him, but he's welcome in the BJP," said the BJP's Bengal minder and general secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya.
"As of now, I'm enjoying my cup of tea with a weight off my shoulders", said Trivedi when asked if he's joining the saffron brigade.
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