Mumbai: A day after five Trinamool Congress members in Goa resigned, alleging that the Mamata Banerjee-led party was trying to “divide Goans on the basis of religion”, party Vice-President and TMC Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro told ThePrint that “the bus will reach its destination, it’s just that a few passengers have left.” The leader, however, refrained from commenting on allegations of “communalism” made against the party by the five former members.
Months after the party’s victory in the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal, and return to power in the state, the TMC in September announced its intention to contest all 40 assembly seats in the 2022 Goa elections. The move is in keeping with TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s attempt to ensure a more pan-India character for her party. The leader has also been active in attempts to form a unified opposition against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Since September, the TMC has drawn to its fold leaders from across parties in Goa, including former CM and Congress leader, Faleiro. Others to have defected to the TMC since include former Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, former NCP MLA Churchill Alemao and former Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP) MLA Lavoo Mamledar.
On Friday, within three months of having joined the TMC, however, Mamledar resigned from the party, with four others — Ram Mandrekar, Kishor Parwar, Komal Parwar and Sujay Mallik — creating what could possibly be the first setback for the TMC as it tries to find a foothold in Goa.
‘Will not allow state’s secular fabric to be broken’
In a letter submitted to party chief Mamata Banerjee Friday, the five leaders alleged, “We do not want to continue with a party which is trying to divide Goans. We will not allow AITC and the company managing AITC Goa (a reference to the Prashant Kishor-led I-PAC) to break the secular fabric of the state and we shall protect it.”
It added: “AITC move to polarise Hindu votes towards MGP (a TMC ally) and Catholic votes towards the AITC is purely communal in nature”.
After handing in his resignation, Mamledar was quoted as saying, “I had joined the TMC because I was fully impressed with Mamata Banerjee-led party’s performance in West Bengal Assembly polls. I was under the impression that TMC is a very secular party. But from whatever I have noticed in the last 15-20 days, I came to know that it is worse than the BJP,” he alleged.
He also accused the party of trying to collect data about people under the garb of the Griha Laxmi scheme announced by the TMC as part of it’s pre-poll promise in the state. Under the scheme the TMC has promised to provide Rs 5,000 as assistance to women in the state.
But Mamledar alleged, “We have found that under its Laxmi Bhandar scheme introduced in West Bengal, only Rs 500 are given, while here they are promising Rs 5,000 to women under the Griha Laxmi scheme, which is next to impossible. The promise of the scheme is entirely to collect data from Goa,” he said.
Since announcing it’s entry in Goan politics, TMC had flooded the state with propaganda and been branding itself as “Goenchi Navi Sakal” (Goa’s new dawn).
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)