New Delhi/Kolkata: Ending his defiance, Dinesh Trivedi on Sunday gave in to his party’s demand to resign as railway minister, bringing the curtain down on the five-day drama after he incurred the wrath of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for hiking passenger fares in the railway budget.

“He (Trivedi) called me and he told me that he will abide by the party decision and send his resignation," TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata before heading for Delhi. She also said Trivedi told her he will remain with the party.

Making way: Dinesh Trivedi talks to the media at Parliament House after the Union budget was unveiled on Friday. Photo: PTI

Banerjee has been insisting on his resignation after he proposed raising train fares in his maiden railway budget last week. Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday and demanded his replacement with another party nominee and junior shipping minister Mukul Roy.

The matter of Trivedi’s resignation has deepened fissures between the Congress-led ruling coalition and its ally the TMC, and pushed the government to the brink, opening up opportunities for the opposition.

The Congress party, troubled by friction within the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), is hoping the Prime Minister’s address on Monday, expected to allay the concerns of key partners over some policy decisions, will deliver respite.

The opposition, though, is set to leverage the UPA’s internal crisis.

“In the budget session, coventionally, the priority of the house is the presentation of the budget. As a responsible opposition, we fully cooperated with the treasury bench. (But) now the government has to do a lot of explanation," said a leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Rajya Sabha, declining to be identified.

The opposition will seek answers from the government on its stand on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre that’s being opposed by some parties, including the TMC, and on what it is doing to tackle inflation.

The Left parties have already expressed their opposition to the reduction in the interest rate for the employees’ provident fund to 8.25% from 9.5%.

The Prime Minister “has remained incommunicado. In fact, he is responsible for a lot of this crisis", said G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, a political analyst. “I think they (the UPA) have reached the point of no return, so I don’t think he can save the position. They might temporarily manage by some rollback here and there before a new crisis emerges."

“The UPA might be able to manage the crisis for the time being. The budget speech clearly indicates that they are on a wait-and-watch approach," said political analyst Jai Mrug. “The budget underplayed subsidy provisions indicating hikes and decontrol of sectors like petroleum and fertilizers. They seem to be having this two-pronged strategy. One, to get the tacit support of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). And then keep (allies) happy by minor adjustments."

The SP, which like the BSP provides outside support to the UPA government, has maintained that the increase in railway fares was long overdue.

The UPA has a thin majority in the Lok Sabha and is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha.

Another Congress leader, who too did not want to be named, said an understanding with the SP will weaken the mercurial Banerjee, who has already forced the government to put several of its policy initiatives—such as an increase in foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, the anti-graft Lokpal Bill and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill—on hold.

Another key UPA ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which has 18 Lok Sabha members, is mounting pressure on the government to support a motion against Sri Lanka in the United Nations for alleged human rights violations during the island nation’s battle against Tamil rebels.