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May 17, 2013

TMC`s record in Railway Ministry is there for all to see

Following the revelation that family members of former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal of the Congress party were auctioning positions in the Railway Board, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is reportedly probing all senior appointments in the Indian Railways going back to 2009. This includes a three-year period when the Ministry of Railways was under the Trinamool Congress. Embarrassed by the Bansal scandal, the Congress, true to form, is attempting to divert attention.
It is telling that till a few weeks ago the Congress was crowing about running the Ministry of Railways on its own for the first time in two decades. It is even more telling that within eight months of the Congress gaining control of this asset-rich Ministry, scandals and swindles have begun to pour out. The Congress, which ignores the process of auction and price discovery when it comes to selling public resources, adopts these mechanisms instead to sell senior government posts.
Rather than introspect and purify itself the Congress-led UPA government has taken recourse to its trademark vindictiveness. It has asked the CBI to look at all senior appointments in the past four years, even though there are no allegations and there is no evidence of wrongdoing in the period Trinamool ministers ran the Ministry. What dirty tricks will a desperate government resort to, to deflect attention and frame the innocent and protect its own black sheep? We can only wonder.
As Railway Minister from 2009-11, Mamata Banerjee set the bar high. The benchmarks of integrity and transparency that have defined her public career for the past three decades will stand the scrutiny of the CBI or anybody else. All senior appointments in the Indian Railways during the tenure of Mamata Banerjee and subsequent Trinamool ministers were in accordance with exacting principles of good governance:
  • All appointments at the senior-most level were cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments. This Committee is headed by the Prime Minister and includes the Home and/or Finance Ministers, along with the Railway Minister
  • Even the current Chairman of the Railway Board was chosen by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments headed by the Prime Minister
  • All such appointments were vetted and subsequently cleared by the Central Vigilance Commission
  • There was no supersession, subjectivity of favouritism in appointments. In all cases, the name of the person finally appointed was chosen from the shortlist provided and cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments 
“Our record in the Railway Ministry is there for all to see,“ said Derek O`Brien, Trinamool MP and chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, “Mamata Banerjee is a public administrator of unimpeachable honesty. She is not a part of the Congress` robber-baron culture. Let the CBI inspect our record and our entire public life. Trinamool is an open book.“