New Delhi: The Nationalist Congress Party’s sole MLA in Goa, Churchill Alemao, has written to the assembly speaker, asking for the “NCP legislative group” to be merged with the Trinamool Congress, thereby forming the All India Trinamool Congress legislative party in the assembly.
Alemao joined the TMC Monday in the presence of party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in Goa for a two-day visit. He was inducted when Banerjee visited to Benaulim, his constituency.
Alemao had earlier confirmed to ThePrint that he will be joining the TMC Monday. This will be his second stint in the party, having been a member from 2014 to 2016.
The TMC is making a determined electoral foray into the western state for the first time in the upcoming assembly elections slated early in 2022.
‘TMC to have one MLA in Assembly’
Speaking to ThePrint from Goa, Alemao, a former chief minister of the state, said the TMC will have one MLA in the Goa assembly if the speaker accepts his resolution.
“I have written to the speaker to merge the NCP legislative party with the TMC in the Goa assembly, as I’m the NCP’s sole MLA,” said Alemao. “If the speaker accepts, the TMC will have one MLA in the Goa assembly from tomorrow, even before elections.”
“In the past, when Congress MLAs defected en masse to the BJP, they also requested for a merger and the speaker accepted. Earlier, one or two independents have also done something similar, so this should not be an issue,” he said.
Alemao will be the second former Goa CM to join the TMC after Congress’ Luizinho Faleiro, who has since been made a Rajya Sabha MP and the party’s national vice-president.
In a letter to the Goa assembly speaker, TMC leader Derek O’Brien accepted Alemao’s offer and offered support to his resolution of the NCP legislative party being subsumed within the Trinamool’s legislative party.
Alemao’s many parties
Churchill Alemao formed the United Goans’ Democratic Party (UGDP) in 1983, which he quit a few years later to join the Congress. In 1990, he was chief minister of Goa for 18 days as a part of the Progressive Democratic Front led by the Congress. He resigned due to an internal split within the party.
Between 1996 and 1998, he was the Congress MP from the South Goa constituency.
In 2007, Alemao quit the Congress to form the Save Goa Front, which fought the assembly elections independently that year. Since no party could gain a majority, the Save Goa Front joined the Congress-led alliance to form a government, in which he was made minister.
In 2008, the Save Goa Front merged with the Congress.
In 2014, Alemao had another falling-out with the Congress, when his daughter Valanka was denied a ticket by the party in the Lok Sabha polls, after all four members of his family, including Alemao himself, suffered defeats in the state assembly election of 2012.
He thereafter joined the TMC and fought the 2014 election from the South Goa constituency, but managed to win only three per cent of the votes (approximately 12,000). He joined the NCP in 2016.
According to sources, just like in 2014, Alemao has now fallen out with the Congress, with which the NCP is contemplating an alliance, over Valanka being denied a ticket.
The father and daughter met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on 29 November.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)