A day ahead of the proposed cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pulled up minister of state for railways Mukul Roy of the Trinamool Congress for not taking charge of the rescue work after the Kalka Mail accident —the biggest this year — in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
Earlier on Monday, asked why he did not visit even the site in Assam where the Guwahati-Puri train derailed on the same day as the Kalka Mail even after being instructed by the PM, Roy said, “I am not the railway minister, the Prime Minister is.”
In the case of the Kalka accident too, Roy’s statement from Kolkata was: “I am over 1,000 km from the spot. I will go to the site if the PM tells me (to go).” It was finally left to the other MoS, KH Muniyappa, to visit the site although Uttar Pradesh was under Roy's charge.
Sources indicated that shipping MoS Roy, who had been playing an active role in the railway ministry since party chief Mamata Banerjee gave him the additional portfolio after taking over as West Bengal chief minister, was unhappy as health MoS Dinesh Trivedi's name was proposed as the next railway minister.
The sources said Roy might be relieved of his responsibilities in the railway ministry and would be only a junior minister in the shipping ministry.
The TMC, however, came to the support of Roy. Trivedi said while explaining that there was no race for cabinet berths in his party: "Roy did not rush to the mishap site as he did not want to impede the rescue operations."
(With inputs from Saubhdra Chatterji)