New Delhi - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday praised outgoing Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi and regretted that he had to leave, but Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had the final say, getting her close confidant Mukul Roy as the next railway minister, who is to be sworn in Tuesday.
Marking an end to the five-day-long drama, the prime minister told the Lok Sabha that he had received Trivedi's resignation and proposed to send it to President Pratibha Patil with the recommendation that it be accepted. The president has accepted the resignation, an official statement said Monday evening.
Praising Trivedi, who had annoyed his party chief Mamata Banerjee by announcing a hike in passenger fares in the railway budget last Wednesday, the prime minister said Trivedi had presented a budget that had "promised to carry out the Vision 2020 outlined by his predecessor (Mamata Banerjee)".
"I regret the departure of Shri Trivedi," the prime minister said.
Manmohan Singh pointed out that the new railway minister would "have the onerous duty of carrying forward the challenging task of modernising our railway system".
He was speaking while replying to the debate on motion of thanks to the president's address.
Government sources said that Roy, who is minister of state for shipping, will take oath of office and secrecy Tuesday morning as cabinet minister.
The swearing will be held on a day parliament is to debate the Railway Budget and Roy is expected to reply to the debate later.
Later Monday, the prime minister held a meeting with Banerjee, who arrived in the capital Sunday evening.
Despite holding out against his removal, Trivedi finally agreed to go after a talk with his party chief Sunday evening. Trivedi had annoyed his party boss by not consulting her on the hike and then sticking to his stand.
Emerging from the talks with the prime minister, the West Bengal chief minister said the rollback in passenger fares proposed in the 2012-13 rail budget was a prerogative of the prime minister.
"It was a good meeting... the issue of rollback of passenger fare hike and making party leader Mukul Roy as the new railway minister are the prerogatives of the prime minister," Banerjee told reporters. She was accompanied by Trinamool parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.
After Banerjee's visit to Delhi Sunday, Trivedi first mailed his resignation to the prime minister and followed it up with a formal letter.