Cong minister gets Sonia's nod to quit W Bengal govt

Cong minister gets Sonia's nod to quit W Bengal govt

In a sign of deepening strains with ally Trinamool, sulking West Bengal minister Manoj Chakraborty, who dubbed Mamata Banerjee as dictator after she divested him of two of his portfolios, was today allowed to quit her ministry by the Congress high command.

Chakraborty, a Minister of State, had shot off his resignation to Congress President Sonia Gandhi after Banerjee stripped him of two of his portfolios -- Parliamentary Affairs and Cottage and Small Scale Industries. The Minister for Food Processing hit back terming Mamata as dictator and questioned her performance.

Chakraborty is a close associate of senior party MP Adhir Ranjan Choudhary and had been in forefront in opposing West Bengal government's move to change the name of Indira Bhavan. The request of Chakraboty was forwarded to Gandhi yesterday, who today allowed him to resign from the council of ministers in West Bengal, sources said.

The development came on a day when Gandhi held deliberations with the party;s top brass including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Congress Core Group meeting. The sources said that the minister is likely to put in his papers tomorrow.

A senior party leader speaking on condition of anonymity said that the party feels Chakraborty was "aggrieved" and "hurt" and his decision to quit the ministry was justified as he was not even sounded about being divested of his portfolio.

The party leader also ruled out the possibility of any replacement of Chakraborty from Congress saying it would amount to accepting that the minister had erred, which is not the case. AICC in-charge for the state Shakeel Ahmed said the decision has been communicated to PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya.