Last week, while presenting the rail Budget, Dinesh Trivedi, the Rail Minister of India, took a bold step and for the first time in last 10 years, announced the hike in passenger fares, ranging from 2 paise to 30 paise per kilometre. He said that this hike is necessary to implement safety features in Indian railways along with network expansion and modernisation. The fare hike was vehemently opposed by his own party’s chair person, Mamata Banerjee. Other party leaders Sudeep Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien also expressed their disagreement. Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to dismiss Dinesh Trivedi as Minister of Railways and give the portfolio to Mukul Roy. However, the rail budget received support from the general public, industry groups and all five Rail Unions.
This budget day was supposed to be the highlight of Mr. Trivedi’s political career but he found himself in a piquant situation with his own party’s opposition and speculations about his continuance in the office. It was an example of lifting populism to ridiculous levels. Anyway, let’s not get into the details of that controversy as today we will try to know more about Mr. Trivedi, his life and political career.
So who is Mr. Dinesh Trivedi? He is a Lok Sabha M.P representing Barrackpore, West Bengal . He belongs to Trinmool Congress. He is also the Rail Minister of India. He is very talented and skillful man. He is an MBA graduate from The University of Texas at Austin (1974 batch). After his MBA, he worked in Chicago for two years for the Detex Company, before returning to India, where he worked for a logistics provider Lee and Muirhead. In 1984, he quit the job to start his own air freight company based in Kolkata.
He also trained to be a pilot, a result of his childhood dream of flying for the Indian Air Force. He is a trained sitar player and enjoys classical music. He also applied to train as an actor at the Film Institute, Pune, but didn’t follow it up as he then believed it not to be a serious job. He was also drawn towards a picture of Swami Vivekanand in an advertisement by the Ramkrishna Mission, and decided to be a monk, but did not do so due to strong advice by his family and a Swami in Chicago. He became famous when he filed a petition at the Supreme Court to make the Vohra report on the criminalization of politics in India public. This petition gave a push to the Right to Information movement
He joined the Indian National Congress in the 1980s, but switched over to the Janata Dal in 1990. Later, in 1998 he joined Mamata Banerjee when she started the Trinamool Congress party and became its first general secretary. He was a member of the Upper House in the Indian Parliament from 1990 to 2008. In the 2009 elections he contested for the Trinamool Congress party and won from Barrackpore to join the lower house in the Parliament. He joined the cabinet as the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in 2009. In 2011, he offered to resign as a minister in support of Anna Hazare. This shows that unlike other Indian politicians and leaders he is much more honest and patriot. In 2011, after Mamata Banerjee quit as the railway minister to become the Chief Minister of West Bengal, he was elevated as the Cabinet Minister for Railways.