Goa Congress veteran Luizinho Faleiro quits; will likely join TMC
Senior Goa Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro today quit the party and is expected to join the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The TMC is notably eyeing a re-entry into the political landscape of Goa, which goes to polls early next year. In fact, TMC MP Derek O'Brien and his colleague Prasun Banerjee were in the coastal state over the weekend as part of the preparations.
Faleiro had praised Banerjee shortly before resignation
Faleiro, a former Goa Chief Minister, had praised TMC chief Mamata Banerjee earlier in the day. "Mamata Banerjee has given a tough fight to (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi. The Mamata formula has won in Bengal," he said, referring to the 2021 West Bengal elections. Sources said he will join the TMC in the coming days. Faleiro, 70, had served as Goa CM during 1998-1999.
'Somebody has to stand up,' Faleiro had said
"I am in deep meditation. I am reading everything. One thing I will tell you (that) people of Goa are suffering, somebody has to stand up," Faleiro had said on Sunday. "I will offer comments at an appropriate time." He had reportedly been upset with the Congress leadership over the appointment of state party president Girish Chodankar in 2017.
TMC had contested the 2012 Goa Assembly polls
This would be the second time the TMC makes a political entry into Goa. It had unsuccessfully contested the 2012 Assembly elections under the leadership of former CM, Dr. Wilfred de Souza. The party had also contested the South Goa Parliamentary seat in the 2014 General Election but lost it. This time, the TMC is planning to contest all 40 seats, reports say.
TMC's entry to make Goa's electoral battle more complicated
Elections in Goa are due to be held in February-March 2022. The state is currently ruled by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. The Trinamool's entry will make the electoral battle even more complicated. Besides the ruling party, the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena, Goa Forward Party, and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party are also in the fray.
TMC looking to expand its national presence
TMC, led by Banerjee, had defeated the BJP in this year's elections in West Bengal. Since then, the party has sought to aggressively campaign against the saffron party in other states, too, including Tripura and Assam. It is looking to expand its national footprint, with Banerjee often touted as a potential candidate against PM Modi in the 2024 general polls.