TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi resigns from Rajya Sabha
Dinesh TrivediSitaram86/Wikimedia Commons (FIle photo)

TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi resigns from Rajya Sabha

Says he feels "suffocated and helpless" about situation in West Bengal

New Delhi, February 12, 2021

Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) member Dinesh Trivedi today announced his decision to resign from the Rajya Sabha, citing the "suffocation and helplessness" he felt at being unable to make a difference in his state, West Bengal, which was witnessing political violence and facing various other problems.

The move by Trivedi, 70, for long the face of the TMC in Delhi, will be seen as major setback to the TMC headed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, coming as it after a series of desertions from the party to the BJP just months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.

Making a statement in the House, Trivedi said his conscience told him that he could no longer continue to be a member of the Rajya Sabha if he was unable to do anything to change the ground situation in his state.

He said he found himself restricted and felt suffocated and helpless at not being able to do anything to solve the problems of the state.

"I am grateful to my party that it sent me here. I am feeling suffocated that we are not able to do anything about violence in the state," he said.

"My conscience tells me that if you cannot do anything sitting here, then you should resign," he said, taking his colleagues in the House, including the members of his own party, by surprise.

"I will continue to serve the people of Bengal," he added.

Reacting to the resignation, Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Shekhar Ray said, "Trinamool means grassroots. Now a grassroots worker can be sent to the Rajya Sabha."

A long-time associate of Banerjee, Trivedi was instrumental in the growth of the TMC in its initial days after she walked out of the Congress to form her own party.

For a long time, he was the face of the party in Delhi but over the years he found himself margingalised as the clout of other leaders of the party grew. In the Rajya Sabha, it was Derek O'Brien who was chosen as the leader of the TMC in the House though he was senior to him.

In 2019, Trivedi lost the Lok Sabha election from Barrackpore in West Bengal, but the party sent him to the Upper House.

Soon after Trivedi announced his resignation, the ruling BJP, which is making a determined effort to capture power in West Bengal in the coming elections, said he would be welcome to join the party. Trivedi had praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a post on Twitter yesterday and had referred to him and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad while making the announcement of his resignation.

Trivedi's statement came suddenly during the proceedings of the House this afternoon when he sought permission from Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh, who was in the chair, to talk about a serious issue.

"There is a moment in every person's life when he hears his inner voice. Today, I had such a moment as I sat here and wondered why we are in politics. Two days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and (Leader of Opposition) Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke in the House. They represent two different parties but what united their speeches was the country," he said.

"A moment comes when a person has to decide whether the country is bigger than the party or whether the individual is supreme," Trivedi said, recalling that he had faced a similar situation earlier when he had decided to resign as Railways Minister in March 2012 when the fact that the Railway Budget he presented proposed an increase in passenger fares did not go down well with his own party chief.

"The way violence is being unleased in my side, democracy is being attacked, I am feeling uneasy sitting here. I am from the land of Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Khudiram...," he said.

Quoting Swami Vivekananda's "Arise, awake", Trivedi said, "My inner voice is telling me that if I can't do anything for my state sitting here, it's better I leave this chair."

As he went on to announce his decision to quit the House, the chair reminded him that there was a due process to be followed in such matters and that he should write to the Chairman in this regard.Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) member Dinesh Trivedi today announced his decision to resign from the Rajya Sabha, citing the "suffocation and helplessness" he felt at being unable to make a difference at a time when his state, West Bengal, was witnessing political violence and beset with various other problems.

The move by Trivedi, 70, for long the face of the TMC in Delhi, will be seen as major setback to the TMC headed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, coming as it does as the latest in a series of desertions from the party to the BJP just months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.

Making a statement in the House, Trivedi said his conscience told him that he could no longer continue to be a member of the Rajya Sabha if he was unable to do anything to change the ground situation in his state.

He said he found himself restricted and felt suffocated and helpless at not being able to do anything to solve the problems of the state.

"I am grateful to my party that it sent me here. I am feeling suffocated that we are not able to do anything over violence in the state," he said.

"My conscience tells me that if you cannot do anything sitting here, then you should resign," he said, taking his colleagues in the House, including the members of his own party, by surprise.

"I will continue to serve the people of Bengal," he added.

Reacting to the resignation, Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Shekhar Ray said "Trinamool means grassroots. Now a grassroots worker can be sent to the Rajya Sabha."

A long-time associate of Banerjee, Trivedi was instrumental in the growth of the TMC in its initial days after she walked out of the Congress to form her own party.

For a long time, he was the face of the party in Delhi but over the years he found himself margingalised as the clout of other leaders of the party grew. In the Rajya Sabha, it was Derek O'Brien who was chosen as the leader of the TMC in the House though he was senior to him.

In 2019, Trivedi lost the Lok Sabha election from Barrackpore in West bengal, but the party sent him to the Upper House.

Soon after Trivedi announced his resignation, the BJP said he would be welcome to join the party. Trivedi had praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a post on Twitter yesterday and had referred to him and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad while making the announcement of his resignation.

Trivedi's statement came suddenly during the proceedings of the House this afternoon when he sought permission from Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh, who was in the chair, to talk about a serious issue.

"There is a moment in every person's life when he hears his inner voice. Today, I had such a moment as I sat here and wondered why we are in politics. Two days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and (Leader of Opposition) Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke in the House. They represent two different parties but what united their speeches was the country," he said.

"A moment comes when a person has to decide whether the country is bigger than the party or whether the individual is supreme," Trivedi said, recalling that he had faced a similar situation earlier when he had decided to resign as Railways Minister in March 2012 when the fact that the Railway Budget he presented proposed an increase in passenger fares did not go down well with his own party chief.

"The way violence is being unleased in my side, democracy is being attacked, I am feeling uneasy sitting here. I am from the land of Subhash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Khudiram...," he said.

Quoting Swami Vivekananda's "Arise, awake", Trivedi said, "My inner voice is telling me that if I can't do anything for my state sitting here, it's better I leave this chair."

As he went on to announce his decision to quit the House, the chair reminded him that there was a due process to be followed in such matters and that he should write to the Chairman in this regard.

NNN

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