Is Dinesh Trivedi emerging as a middle class hero?

Former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi seems set on his way to becoming a new middle class hero.

The minister, who was unceremoniously ejected from the Union Cabinet as a result of a political and ego tussle between the Congress party and its ally Mamata Banerjee, will deliver a lecture on “Country, Before Party and Self” on April 16.

The talk, organized under the aegist of the Moneylife Foundation, pitches Trivedi as a martyr to the fight for cleaner politics and saner economics.

“Mr Trivedi had to resign and the fare hike was almost entirely rolled back, even though the Indian Railway, as he says, is “in the ICU”. But his action has created a new hero for ordinary Indians,” says the invite to the talk, to be held at the KR Cama Hall Institute, Kalaghoda, Mumbai.

The invite further notes that Trivedi’s controversial rail budget had outlined a path for modernization, safety and profitability of the Indian Railways which included the first fare hike in nine years.

“‘If Bhagat Singh could sacrifice his life for the country, what’s a chair?’ said Dinesh Trivedi, when asked would he have to quit if his Railway Budget was shot down by his party leader, the mercurial Mamata Banerjee,” the invite reads.

Though the ostensible reason for his ejection from the office was his decision to raise railway fares, it is widely suspected that he owed his loss to a long-standing suspicion in Trinamool circles about where his loyalties lay. Banerjee had even hinted that attempts were made to wean Trivedi away from her party, without specifying the agency behind the efforts.

Trivedi had raised ordinary rail fares for the first time in nearly a decade, claiming that the Indian Railways, one of the biggest corporations in the World, was woefully short on cash, even to ensure the safety of its customers.

Moneylife is a Mumbai-based investment magazine, headed by journalist Sucheta Dalal. Moneylife Foundation organizes events to spread “financial literacy and works towards safe and fair market practices through workshops, round table meetings, white papers, research, advocacy, awareness campaigns, grievance redressal, counselling, etc.”