TMC has more hoardings in Goa than members: Cong leader

TMC has more hoardings in Goa than members: Cong state unit chief

Hitting out at the TMC and the AAP, Chodankar also asserted that 'Goa will be governed from Goa, not West Bengal or Delhi'

The TMC has come three months before the polls and the people will not believe it, Congress chief Chodankar said. Credit: Getty Images

Taking a dig at the TMC, Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar on Sunday said there are more hoardings of the party in the state than members and alleged that the BJP think tank had launched "another team" in the form of the Mamata Banerjee-led party to break the Congress vote.

Hitting out at the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Chodankar also asserted that "Goa will be governed from Goa, not West Bengal or Delhi".

"Right now their (TMC) hoardings show only Mamata Banerjee. I don't know what Mamata Banerjee will do in Goa? AAP only shows (Arvind) Kejriwal, what does he have to do in Goa? Goa cannot be run by people from Bengal or Delhi, Goa has to be run from Goa," the Goa Congress chief told PTI in an interview.

Asked about the entry of the TMC into Goa ahead of the assembly elections next year, Chodankar said they had made attempts earlier also but "went back".

Also Read | AAP's foray into Goa politics: Arvind Kejriwal to visit state on November 1

"We do not know their (TMC's) intention in coming to Goa. If their intention is to give a win to the BJP they will not succeed. Without serving that state, people will not support anybody," he said.

The TMC has come three months before the polls and the people will not believe it, Chodankar said.

Alleging that the TMC had no support base and was functioning on the strength of poll strategist Prashant Kishor's Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) firm, Chodankar said party workers cannot be replaced by "paid workers".

Asked if he was hinting at a BJP-TMC collusion, he said Kishor had "confirmed it" by saying that the BJP is here to stay.

Even during Mamata Banerjee's visit, Goans realised that I-PAC has more members, around 350, than the TMC members which are around 130-140, he said.

I-PAC is politically more powerful than the TMC in Goa, Chodankar claimed.

He said the best people to answer why the TMC had come to Goa were "Amit Shah and the Enforcement Directorate".

Also Read | Rahul, Mamata, AAP in Goa on political tourism: BJP MP Tejasvi Surya

On TMC's and AAP's electoral challenge, Chodankar alleged that "when the BJP's think tank realised that the AAP is not doing well and they will not succeed in breaking Congress votes, they decided to launch another team in the form of TMC".

His remarks come a day after TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee trained her guns on the Congress, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will become more powerful as the grand old party is not serious about politics, and alleged that the country is suffering because that party does not take decisions.

Asked about the high-profile induction of Tennis legend Leander Paes and actress Nafisa Ali in the TMC during Banerjee's visit to Goa, Chodankar quipped, "In Goa, TMC has more hoardings than actual members...even after their joining."

In politics you need people connected to the ground, not glamour, he said in a swipe at the induction of Paes and Ali.

The TMC had taken former chief minister Luizinho Faleiro in its ranks but after realizing that he has no political value, they "dumped him", Chodankar said, adding that the party was neither using his name nor photo.

He asserted that the Congress cadre has been fighting on every issue of Goans and the recent visit of Rahul Gandhi had energised the cadres and made them battle ready for the polls.

"Goa is Congress and Congress is Goa. Goa suits Congress and Congress suits Goa. BJP does not suit Goa's ideology," he claimed.

"So, people of Goa are with us and the BJP cannot defeat us. It is trying various tricks to divide our vote as they cannot get our votes," Chodankar said.

He expressed confidence that the Congress will get an absolute majority this time.

Chodankar said the Congress was in talks with parties for alliances and studying various proposals but refused to divulge any details.

The Congress had won the highest 17 seats in the 40-member House in the 2017 Goa assembly elections, restricting the main opponent BJP to 13. But the saffron party moved to ally with regional parties and came to power under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar, now deceased.

The Congress had accused the BJP of "stealing" the mandate, a charge the saffron party rejected.

Over the years, the Congress' strength in the Legislative Assembly dwindled to four after many of its MLAs switched sides and joined the ruling BJP.

The ruling BJP, opposition Congress, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, TMC, Shiv Sena and regional parties like the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party are all in the poll fray with not much clarity yet on forging of alliances. 

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