Congress has sent out a clear signal of taking the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal head on by making three leaders from the state as Union ministers, two of them bitter critics of Mamata Banerjee.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Deepa Dasmunshi are known detractors of Banerjee, who parted ways with the UPA government two months back after growing acrimony over a host of issues.
Both Chowdhury and Dasmunshi, as also Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, have been elected from constituencies in North Bengal, a bastion of the Congress.
The move is significant as it comes ahead of the panchayat elections in the state at a time when Banerjee is making attempts to marginalise the Congress.
Banerjee had led a Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance to power one and a half years ago, ousting the Left Front which ruled West Bengal for three decades.
While 74-year old Khan Choudhury represents Maldaha Dakshin, the party's stronghold for the last nearly four decades, Adhir Ranjan, 56, and Dasmunshi, 52, represent Berhampore and Raiganj constituencies.
"I am happy over the induction of all the three leaders into the government. They are most deserving," All India Congress Committee leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal, told PTI.
He said that four names were discussed, including that of Pradip Bhattacharya indicating that he would continue as the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president.
Pranab Mukherjee, who has now become the President, was the lone Congress minister from West Bengal at the Centre till he moved to Rashtrapati Bhavan.