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Dinesh Trivedi

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The Ballast

Beneath the suave, settled exterior of India’s new Railway Minister, is a force that caused a tectonic shift in Bengal, unseating the red bastion after 34 years, and promising change to a desperately seeking people. 61-year-old Dinesh Trivedi has been the rock behind Mamata Bannerjee’s fire, zeal and promises in the Trinamool Congress. But he’s also pushed change in another fundamental way, which has now snowballed into India’s anti corruption movement. In 1997, when he was a Rajya Sabha MP he pushed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking for the government to please make its report on the criminal-politician nexus public. His claim that the people had the right to information, is what later became the foundation for the RTI movement and indeed its current avatar – the fight for a citizen’s Lok Pal. It’s also why, when the Lok Pal movement was at it’s shrillest best, chanting `down with the government’ slogans, it is Dinesh Trivedi who stood by Anna Hazare and offered to resign as Minister of State for Health. Trivedi’s trajectory has always been unusual. He’s been a Gujarati businessman, settled in Kolkata, who then shoved a successful freight business for the much less steady ground of party politics. He nearly gave that up to become a monk, and is also a trained pilot. Now, as the captain of a 1.6 million people strong Indian Railways, there are many expectations riding on him.

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