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Days before presenting his Railway Budget, Trinamool leader and Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi analyses the recent assembly election results, the rise of regional parties and his plan for the Railways. This session was moderated by Senior Editor (Politics) Vandita Mishra
Vandita Mishra: There is a clear anti-Congress sentiment underlying the verdict of the assembly elections. Secondly, regional parties have gained at the expense of national parties. What is your assessment?
Dinesh Trivedi: My initial assessment is that the voters have become mature, it is now time for the politicians to become mature. The voters know exactly what they want and what they don't want. That has come out very clearly. Also, the elections have shown that anything is possible: an elephant can get run over by a bicycle. This is what democracy is all about. This election has proved to be a game-changer—people don't want promises, they want confidence, they want reliability. The other thing this election has shown is there is nothing called charisma. Look at Akhilesh—he has just come up, he was nowhere on the scene. But from whatever little I have known of him, he is very amiable. He gives you the confidence that he means what he says. There is no make-up. I hope power doesn't spoil him.
Vandita Mishra: Does Rahul Gandhi wear make-up?
Dinesh Trivedi: I don't think so. I have no doubt Rahul Gandhi is very sincere in his purpose. He has taken this defeat very gracefully. Soniaji too. The best part is they have not blamed anybody. Leaders must understand that chamchas and sycophants are injurious to political health. They take you to the khajur ka ped and leave you there. So you must make your own assessment. Indian society has been feudal but this new generation of young people will not accept anything but what is real. They have a lot of confidence. Imagine, Akhilesh talking about laptops. People do not want reservation any longer—mandal-kamandal is over. Young people want education, they want dignity.