Calcutta, Sept. 18: The Congress tonight decided to “go slow” on pulling out its Bengal ministers and plans to wait till Friday afternoon, when Trinamul’s Union ministers are expected to hand in their papers to the Prime Minister.
Mamata has set the time for resignations at 3pm on Friday if the Centre fails to rethink its recent decisions on FDI in retail, diesel and LPG.
“Mamataji has not officially withdrawn support, nor has she pulled her ministers out yet,” the Congress leadership’s man in charge of Bengal, Shakeel Ahmed, told The Telegraph from Delhi.
“Instead, she has given three days’ time to the Centre till Friday afternoon. So, we should go slow on withdrawing our ministers from her government.”
Shakeel said he expected the Congress leadership to look into “Mamataji’s demands” and “work out something” by Friday.
“We still consider Mamataji our valued ally, and this is why we are not in a hurry to withdraw our ministers from her cabinet at this moment.”
However, state unit president Pradip Bhattacharya, who is camping in Delhi, said Bengal’s Congress ministers were “eagerly waiting” to quit Mamata’s ministry.
“Our ministers have time and again expressed their desire to come out of Mamata’s government given the way they are treated. They are more than willing to come out following Mamata’s decision tonight. But we will have to get the go-ahead from the high command,” he said.
Sabina Yasmin, junior labour minister, said she was ready to step down. “I am ready with my resignation. But we became ministers at the high command’s instance, and I need its directive to step down,” she said.
Cabinet minister Manas Bhunia too said he would leave the government “once a directive comes from the central leadership”.
Last week, Bhunia had publicly urged the party leadership “to give us a directive on whether we should stay in the state government given the sustained attacks on party activists across the state by Trinamul Congress activists”.
His appeal came in the presence of Union minister of state for home Jitendra Singh.
The Congress’s chief spokesperson in Bengal, Abdul Mannan, considered pro-Mamata within the state unit, said party ministers “should step down after Mamata’s announcement”.
“However, I feel the Congress will take the decision on Friday afternoon,” he added.