An unceremonious removal from the railway minister’s post in 2012 had looked like the end of the road for Dinesh Trivedi’s political career and many critics had sprung up overnight, even within his party.
Back in the reckoning in his Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, the “loyal soldier” of Mamata Banerjee now sounds quite confident ahead of the last phase of the polls.
The party had won all assembly segments here in the state elections. Some MLAs say Mamata’s name alone is enough to carry him through. Trivedi revealed he had been given an offer by the BJP. He says his “political patience” and “right fundamentals” had been rewarded by Didi and people.
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“I was approached by senior BJP leaders. Since the time I had to leave the railway ministry, they pursued me. I never thought of leaving Didi. She has done a lot for me and I can never forget that. I have been with her since the inception of the party. Despite being a non-Bengali, I was made the first general secretary of the party, the first member in the Rajya Sabha and sent to the Lok Sabha. Didi made me cabinet minister,” said Trivedi, who had been made to resign as railway minister after his budget had gone against the party diktat not to hike trail fares.
Barrackpore has urban, semi-urban and rural areas and Amdanga segment, a Left citadel for three decades with a sizeable minority population.
CPM candidate Subhashini Ali and BJP nominee Ramesh Handa are among the contenders. The CPM’s Taritbaran Topdar, who was six-time CPM MP until he lost in 2009, has not been fielded this time. There were complaints of “high-handedness and corruption” against him.
Besides Mamata’s blessings, Trivedi claims to have the people’s faith as well. “It was the people’s pressure that brought me back. I had trust in Didi. I never had any doubts about being renominated,” said the Barrackpore MP.
“I always got my fundamentals right. As an MP, I worked hard. I spent all money allotted to my MPLAD fund. People are happy. If you see Kalyani expressway or the government hospital here, you will realise it is not the same Barrackpore that the communists had left for us,” said Trivedi.
Some MLAs say the candidate hardly matters as long as he is a TMC candidate.
Bijpur MLA Subhranshu Roy, son of TMC general secretary Mukul Roy, said, “If Didi puts up a lamp-post and tell us make it win, it will win here in the name of Didi. As far as Dinesh Trivedi is concerned, there was some misunderstanding in 2012 when he was railway minister. But now everything is clear. Didi held meetings with all of us separately before announcing the candidate. So he is Didi’s choice and we are with Didi.”
“Dineshda is one of the best educated candidates in the fray. Even though there are some MLAs not cooperating with him, we are there for him,” said Arjun Singh, MLA of Bhatpara .
For the campaign, Trivedi had a IT team of 30 members including students from IIT and IIMs . “I have all data of all segments in a special software. My team keeps me updated,” said Trivedi.