Three Congress ministers in Mamata Banerjee's cabinet skipped a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister today, as the junior coalition partner in West Bengal awaited directions from the central leadership on the future course of action after the Trinamool pulled out at the Centre.
Irrigation minister Manas Bhuniya, Fisheries minister Abu Hena and Minister of State for Science and Technology Abu Naser Choudhury did not attend the cabinet meeting, Congress sources said.
The sources said the Congress ministers will attend cabinet meetings only when the party high command gives the 'green signal'.
The state Congress unit said it has sought the high command's direction as it was finding it 'difficult' to function normally after Trinamool Congress withdrew support to the government. The ruling coalition or UPA is in a minority without Ms Banerjee and the 19 Lok Sabha MPs of her party, who quit the alliance last night to protest against decisions on fuel subsidies and allowing the arrival of foreign mega-chains like Wal-Mart to set up shop in India. Six Trinamool MPs will submit their resignation letters to the Prime Minister on Friday.
"We have given details to the high command that it is difficult to stay in the Mamata Banerjee ministry and function normally," Pradesh Congress Committee president Pradip Bhattacharya told PTI over telephone.
Asked if the ministers belonging to the Congress were likely to be withdrawn, Mr Bhattacharya declined to comment, but said "We have furnished details to the high command and awaiting its direction."
"We are in the state cabinet due to the high command's directives. We are waiting for next direction now," Mr Bhuniya said.
(With inputs from PTI)