From loyalty to defiance, Trivediís journey
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The first time Dinesh Trivedi won a seat in Parliament, defeating a CPM heavyweight in Barrackpore in 2009, Mamata Banerejee was ecstasic and showed it. "It is Dineshda's election," she roared. "He has made it." It was indeed a giantkiller's feat against five-time MP Tarit Topdar in a predominantly industrial belt and CITU stronghold.
The 2009 elections were a watershed in Bengal politics, with Mamata finally turning the tide her way and proving the Left was not invincible. And Barrackpore was a turning point for Trivedi, now Railway Minister but till then a man who had always been on the peripheries of political power. That victory was his launchpad to political prominence.
As expected, Trivedi was made MoS for Health in the UPA-2 government, a reward for his loyalty to Mamata. Three years on, the loyal soldier finds himself cast in the role of a villain, having defied a party diktat.
During those years, what made Trivedi important was that he was Mamata's face in Delhi, an image boosted by a suave atitude, sophisticated manners and communication skills. He is a commerce graduate with an MBA from University of Texas.
Trivedi's Gujarati parents had migrated to India from Karachi after Partition and settled in Delhi. The youngest of the family, he attended a prestigious boarding school in Himachal Pradesh and graduated from St Xavier's College in Kolkata. He also earned a professional pilot's licence.
In the early 1980s, he was often seen in newspaper offices in Kolkata as well as Delhi, promoting corporating entities informally. Corporate circles say industrialists of the Bajaj Group always backed him, pushing his case before the political establishment.
Trivedi joined the Congress in the 1980s, switched to the Janata Dal in 1990, then joined Mamata in 1998 when she started the Trinamool Congress. He became one of its first general secretaries.