TMC today lost its fourth Member of Parliament to rival BJP as Dinesh Trivedi resigned from the party and MPs post in Rajya Sabha. In 2017 TMC lost Mukul Roy to BJP followed by Arjun Singh in 2018 and Subhendu Adhikary in 2020. There are speculations that Dinesh could be BJP’s `Dharti Putra’ for chief minister’s post. Union home minister Amit Shah at a rally yesterday reiterated that BJP’s new chief minister for Bengal will be a ‘Dharti Putra’ or `son of the soil’. Dinesh is a non-tainted face for BJP.
After resigning from Rajya Sabha Dinesh immediately visited the BJP office triggering speculation of a shift to BJP. Invoking Swami Vivekananda’s `Arise Awake and stop not until the goal is reached’ Dinesh complained in Parliament that he was `suffocating’ within the party as was not allowed to speak. He was against the violence unleashed by TMC in Bengal. Earlier also Dinesh had difficulties in dealing with Mamata.
BJP is currently on look out for a non-tainted face as its Chief Minister project in Bengal. Dinesh can be one as he has a clean political sheet. Although Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain and BCCI president continue to be BJP’s first bet, chances of Dinesh becoming a second handle is no less. At the moment Sourav is having heart problems with stent implants in his coronary arteries. The other possible faces are state president Dilip Ghosh, MP Babool Supriyo, Subhendu Adhikary, Mukul Roy and Rajib Bandyopadhyay. Only Dinesh, Dilip and Rajib are without any taint.
It is a major setback to TMC as Dinesh carried a transparent and clean view within the party and there is not much criticism against him. Neither is Dinesh carrying scars and taints like Subhendu, Mukul or Arjun. While Mukul and Subhendu are indicted in CBI and ED cases, the Mamata government has framed over local criminal charges against Arjun, the Barrackpore MP.
Dinesh was the only full cabinet union minister for Railways in the Manmohan Singh government, the other being Mamata Banerjee, the TMC supremo, when she was part of the UPA 2 government. Dinesh was replaced by Mukul Roy but Roy also did not last long. Manmohan had problems in accepting Mukul as Railway minister in his cabinet and Mukul had to leave.
An accomplished management graduate with overseas degrees, a suave natured Xaverian (student of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School and College) Dinesh was always on the good books of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee barring a few occasions. In 2011 Mamata pushed out Dinesh from the Railway Ministry replacing him with Mukul. Dinesh raised rail fares much against the wish of Mamata. He also supported privatisation of Railways, a policy against TMC. He was forced to resign on 18 March 2012.
At that time laughingly an aggrieved Dinesh said “ the only similarity between me and Mahatma Gandhi is that both of us were pushed out of the train. Only the reasons are different. The Mahatma was thrown off train in South Africa and I, in India’’. The fight did not last long. Dinesh soon became a close confidante of Mamata and won the elections of 2014 from Barrackpore. However in 2019 he lost to Arjun Singh in Barrackpore who broke ranks to join BJP.
With Dinesh’s exit Mamata has lost Dinesh and Mukul to BJP. Dinesh’s exit is a big shock to TMC as no one within the party, including Mamata Banerjee was aware of it. The exodus from TMC to BJP is almost like a `mini tsunami’.
Dinesh was TMC MP in Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2019. From 2020 he was TMC MP in Rajya Sabha. A veteran of Congress and Janata Dal in the 1980s and 1990s Dinesh was a Rajya Sabha MP from 1990 to 1996 from Gujarat as Janata Dal candidate and TMC candidate from 2002 to 2008. In 2009 he contested as TMC candidate from Barrackpore and won the seat. TMC broke from Congress and was created by Mamata Banerjee in 1998. Dinesh joined Manmohan cabinet as M.O.S. health and family welfare. In 2011 he offered to quit the cabinet in support of Anna Hazare. In the same year he was elevated as Railway minister.