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Ministers tussle for office space

delhi Updated: Aug 03, 2011 01:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi survived a minor setback on Tuesday, when he discovered that the room that he was expecting to occupy in Parliament House had been allotted to another cabinet minister!

The issue was resolved and Trivedi was 'restored' the room meant for him.

By its office memorandum of August 1, the ministry of parliamentary affairs allotted Room 6 to the minister of information and broadcasting Ambika Soni.

Railways ministers have occupied the spacious, ground floor room since 1977.

Not finding his nameplate outside the designated room, Trivedi broached the issue with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who, in turn, spoke to parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal . The matter was quickly settled.

"It is not about me as an individual. The room has traditionally been occupied by railways ministers," Trivedi told reporters.

Apparently, Soni was unaware of the developments.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress- with an enhanced strength in Parliament - is making a fresh pitch for a bigger office space in Parliament. .

"In 2009, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar allotted us the room that was being used by the RJD. But Lalu refused to vacate it. We will ask for it again with her," party's chief whip and minister of state for health Sudip Bandopadhyay told HT last week.

The Trinamool now has 26 MPs (20 in the Lok Sabha and 6 in the Rajya Sabha) and is UPA coalition's biggest alliance partner.

The Trinamool has an office in Parliament building that was allotted to the party in 1999, when it had just seven MPs.

In 2004, Lalu Prasad got a third floor office room in Parliament as his party was the second-largest UPA ally with 22 Lok Sabha MPs. The RJD slipped to just four MPs in the 2009, but Prasad refused to shift.