Indicating that the exit of Dinesh Trivedi as railway minister was only a matter of time, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday said its priority was to ensure a "complete rollback" of the fare hike announced in the rail budget.
"Our priority is complete rollback of the hike. How the government does it, only they have to decide. They can do it after the discussion on the rail budget or before that. It is only the government which will have to decide," said party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay.
To question the replacement of Trivedi by Mukul Roy as sought by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bandopadhyay said, "It is a closed chapter," indicating that the issue had been clinched.
Asked whether they would wait till the debate on the rail budget was over and a rollback is announced, he said, "I only hope that the rollback will be announced by a new (railway) minister. Wait for the discussion (on rail budget) to take place."
Noting that the debate on rail budget was slated today, Bandopadhyay said, "Now it will only be next week. It has been deferred. This shows the government is also taking its time."
He said the Congress has "also agreed to the principle that in a coalition, the parties send names of those who are to be inducted into the Council of Ministers or change the names".
Bandopadhyay was replying to questions after a meeting of party MPs in Delhi. The meeting came after he held consultations with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue in the Lok Sabha, on the sidelines of the debate on the President's address.
The Trinamool leader went to Mukherjee's seat apparently to discuss the Trivedi issue. The finance minister was seen telling him something and Bandopadhyay grabbed a notepad and took down the points.
Soon thereafter, Bandopadhyay and other party members -- including Mukul Roy, whom Mamata Banerjee has named as the replacement for Trivedi as railway minister -- left the House.
Mukherjee also left within a few seconds.