New Delhi, Apr 8: Senior Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi today sprang a surprise by offering to resign as Union Minister in support of Anna Hazare, telling the Gandhian that he was "ready to do anything" to strengthen the fight against corruption.
Trivedi told PTI today that he had written a letter to Hazare on April five, hours after the anti-corruption crusader began his indefinite hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar here.
The offer by the 61-year-old Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare came in the midst of the West Bengal assembly elections in which the Trinamool Congress-led alliance is making a determined bid to oust the CPI(M)-led Left Front from power.
Trivedi has been a close associate of Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee for a number of years, but of late he was reported to be not on the best of terms with the party. Currently, he is campaigning for the party in the interiors of West Bengal.
"I have been associated with Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal since many years. I have offered to resign in a letter written to Hazare within first few hours of his fast. I told him that if you need, I will resign", he said. Trivedi said he was "ready to do anything to strengthen his fight against corruption".
In 1997, Trivedi and some others had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court, wanting the government to take action on the basis of the Vohra committee report to curb money power and criminalisation of politics. Although the petition was disposed of, the court had made several major observations including that an independent body, which will not be influenced by people who wield clout, was needed to pursue an investigation and prosecution into the nexus between the underworld and powerful persons.
Trivedi said the apex court had also noted that a nodal agency and "an institution like the ombudsman or a Lokpal, properly set up, could command such confidence and respect".
The Trinamool leader said his offer to quit was made "in the spirit of my petition in 1997" and that he had "decided to show courage of conviction by offering to resign." PTI