Congress misleading Goa’s voters: Abhishek Banerjee

File photo of Abhishek Banerjee.

File photo of Abhishek Banerjee.

The sabre-rattling between the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) continued unabated with TMC MP and party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee accusing the Congress on Thursday of misleading the people that there was no concrete offer from the TMC to form an alliance to take on the ruling BJP in Goa.

Speaking to reporters in the poll-bound State, Mr. Banerjee accused the Congress of creating “a misleading narrative” that the TMC was trying to weaken it.

Lashing out at senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram for his statement that there had been no concrete alliance offer from the TMC, Mr. Banerjee said if the Congress, which considered itself self-sufficient to defeat the BJP failed to do so in the upcoming election, then Mr. Chidambaram (the Congress’ senior election observer for the Goa election) should resign on moral grounds.

“The Congress is misleading every Goan by saying that the TMC did not give a concrete offer for an alliance to defeat the BJP… Mr. Chidambaram is making misleading statements to serve his own party’s political interest and to misguide the public at large. This must be exposed,” said the TMC MP, stressing that the TMC was the only party that was taking on the BJP juggernaut in Goa.

Mr. Banerjee said TMC’s national vice-president Pavan K. Varma had put on record today that he had gone to Mr. Chidambaram on December 24 last year for talks about a possible alliance to defeat the BJP in Goa.

“Mr. Varma visited Mr. Chidambaram at precisely 1:30 p.m. that day to discuss the possibility of an alliance. What more concrete offer does the Congress need? Mr. Chidambaram is an eminent lawyer. If he thinks we [TMC] are fudging facts, he can sue us and slap us with a defamation notice,” Mr. Banerjee said, remarking there was “no limit to the Congress’ hypocrisy.”

80% of the Congress MLAs have defected to the BJP in 2019 and the party failed to form the government despite emerging as the single-largest party after the 2017 Assembly election, said the TMC leader.

“The Congress failed to keep its flock after 2017. Goa’s mandate was betrayed in that election…Every vote to the Congress is a vote for the BJP,” he alleged.

Mr. Banerjee said even the BJP’s Goa in-charge Devendra Fadnavis had made public on Wednesday that the saffron party had approaching Congress leader Pratapsingh Rane to give the Poriem seat to the BJP and that the Congress had allegedly ‘agreed’.

“It only proves that the BJP and the Congress are in cahoots in Goa,” said Mr Banerjee, remarking that the other non-BJP parties were only interested in projecting the TMC as a ‘vote-cutter’ rather than making an all-out effort to fight the BJP.

“The Congress and the AAP are saying that the TMC is splitting the ‘anti-BJP’ vote. If this is so, why did they not respond to [TMC chief] Mamata Banerjee’s clarion call to oust the BJP from Goa. Only the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) responded positively and came on board,” Mr. Banerjee said.

He further denied speculation that TMC Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro was ‘upset’ that he had been fielded from the Fatorda Assembly constituency.

“Mr. Faleiro, one of the first leaders to join the TMC, is fighting against the ‘betrayer-in-chief of Goa’s politics, [Goa Forward Party chief] Vijai Sardesai. Goans need to understand that Mr. Sardesai has betrayed the people’s mandate in 2017 by allying himself with the BJP… What better way to defeat him by having Mr. Faleiro leading the charge,” Mr. Banerjee remarked.

Meanwhile, Congress Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said a serious trust deficit had been created owing to the TMC’s way of functioning in Goa.

“The way this party from Bengal has come [into Goa] and the way they are operating doesn’t seem that they are against BJP. It looks like their intentions are something very different… They have been targeting the Congress and the Goa Forward Party [the Congress’ ally] more than the BJP and are engineering defections from our party,” said Mr. Rao.

He said after all this, it was strange for the TMC to suddenly come and tell the Congress to “shake hands” and form an alliance.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 12:37:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/goa-assembly/cong-misleading-goas-voters-abhishek-banerjee/article38299521.ece