The Congress family is now fragmented and I will work towards bringing the family together, said former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro , who joined the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday.
Mr. Falerio, who had resigned as a Congress MLA earlier this week, joined the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata with nine others, including a few Congress leaders.
“Today, the Congress family is fragmented into the Trinamool Congress, the YSR Congress, the Sharad Pawar Congress [Nationalist Congress Party] and the Indira [Gandhi] Congress. I will try to ensure that the Congress family is once again consolidated,” Mr. Falerio said moments after officially joining the Trinamool Congress.
Speaking to presspersons, he said his dream was “to bring the Congress family together”. Describing himself as a congressman of 40 years, he said the Congress and the Trinamool Congress had the same ideology, principles and policies.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Falerio and others met Trinamool chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the State Secretariat.
Shot in the arm
The entry of former Congress leaders from Goa into the Trinamool Congress comes as a major shot in the arm for West Bengal’s ruling party, which is trying to expand its footprints beyond the State.
Senior Trinamool leaders, including party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, MP Saugata Roy and Minister Subrata Mukherjee, were present at the press conference where leaders from Goa joined the party. Mr. Roy described the development as a “major milestone in Trinamool’s journey”. The party would contest alone in Goa, added Mr. Banerjee.
While Mr. Falerio spoke about bringing the Congress family together, Mr. Banerjee said the Congress leadership needed to first answer the questions raised by the G-23, or the group of 23 dissenting leaders, in the Congress party.
“Our fight is against the BJP, not anyone else. We have defeated the BJP for the last seven years. The Congress has been defeated by the BJP for the last seven years,” Mr. Banerjee said, adding that the Congress needed to be stop being “armchair warriors” and hit the streets.
He said the Trinamool Congress had fought the BJP on the streets. Mr. Banerjee said the biggest difference between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress was that “we are not going to be cowed down by the BJP”.
Asked whether the Trinamool Congress was planning on a pre-poll alliance with parties like the Aam Aadmi Party in Goa, the Trinamool leader refuted the possibility. “In Goa, we are going to fight the upcoming election by ourselves. We hope this puts a rest to all speculation,” Mr. Banerjee said.