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China Daily Website

India's railway minister agrees to quit

Updated: 2012-03-19 01:10
( Xinhua)

KOLKATA, India - India's Railway Minster Dinesh Trivedi has succumbed to pressure for his party chief West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee and agreed to resign.

He spoke on Sunday to Mamata Banerjee, a few hours before an annoyed Banerjee boarded a flight to New Delhi to speak to the prime minister over the issue.

Mamata Banerjee announced in Kolkata that Trivedi has told her he will quit, ending days of stalemate over the issue.

Confirming the news, a source close to the railway minister said that he may forward his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "soon".

Trivedi Sunday called up Banerjee and conveyed his decision when Banerjee was about to board a flight to Delhi amid speculation that the Trinamool could pull out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition if the prime minister did not sack the railway minister.

"Yes he (Trivedi) has called me up. He told me that he will abide by the party decision and will send his resignation. He also told me that he will stay with the party," Banerjee told media persons before boarding her flight to the national capital.

Banerjee's announcement has seemingly pulled the curtain down on the five-day deadlock after Trivedi fell out with the Trinamool leadership for hiking passenger fares in his railway budget Wednesday without the party's purported approval.

Banerjee and the party leadership openly opposed the fare hike and demanded a immediate rollback of the tariffs.

On Wednesday night itself, Banerjee wrote to the prime minister recommending Trivedi be replaced as railway minister by another party leader, Mukul Roy.

However, Trivedi had till Sunday afternoon refused to step down, saying he would do so only if Banerjee gave him a written order to quit.

Speculation was rife in political circles that if the prime minister did not sack Trivedi, then the Trinamool might pull out of the UPA coalition with its 19 Members of Parliament.