Are you fighting BJP or giving cover fire: Cong to TMC

Are you fighting the BJP or providing cover fire: Congress to TMC

Following its victory in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress is attempting to expand its national imprint

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. Credit: PRI Photo

The Congress on Tuesday targeted the Trinamool Congress for its foray into Goa, saying elections should not become "tourism" and parties need to introspect whether they are strengthening the BJP or providing it "cover fire" in the fight against the "corrupt" government in the state.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Congress is determined to fight for a "transparent" government in the state, which he said is besieged by corruption, while demanding the immediate sacking of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant who is facing fresh allegations from former Goa Governor Satyapal Malik.

Following its victory in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress is attempting to expand its national imprint and has set its eye on Goa hoping to win it or at least become the biggest Opposition party. It has even poached one of the senior leaders Luizhino Faleiro, a former Chief Minister.

Read more: Ex-Guv Malik's allegation against BJP boosts TMC in Goa

Surjewala was asked how the Congress is going to deal with Opposition parties entering the Goa electoral scene that could have an impact on its prospects as well as on Opposition unity. Trinamool has charged the Congress that it has not done anything after a meeting called by Sonia Gandhi on August 20 and so it took an initiative on its own.

He said every party has the right to fight elections but sought to corner the Trinamool saying it fought the 2017 Goa Assembly elections but left the state after it failed to win any seat. "Elections are not tourism. Fight one election and leave. Then reappear after five years (when the polls are near). While I respect, I recognise the right to fight the election independently, for that is the beauty of the democratic polity, they need to understand what they are fighting," he said.

"Parties also need to introspect and I am saying this with great respect to their rights to democratically fight elections. Are they strengthening the fight against the BJP or are they providing cover fire for the BJP?" Surjewala told a press conference.

He said he would leave that question to them to decide. But, he said, the Congress will "determinedly, unitedly and decisively" fight against the "corrupt architecture created by the BJP" in Goa.

Surjewala said Congress, its president Sonia Gandhi and former chief Rahul Gandhi have fought the BJP and the Narendra Modi government single-handedly, "without bowing down, without getting cowed down, without even retracting a step, at the cost of many personal sacrifices, despite being persecuted by the ruling dispensation.

When other Opposition parties were targeted by the Modi government, he said the Congress has always supported them irrespective of whether they were on opposite sides.

"Opposition parties whenever they get ED notices, whenever their leaders are summoned to the ED offices or CBI offices unjustifiably, I agree, that is also part of a persecution plan. Many times they retract and many times blatantly or patently some of them have compromised. I don't blame them. Everybody necessarily may not have the courage to stand for truth, come what may. We empathise with those smaller parties. We will support those smaller parties even when they oppose us. Because it is our duty to stand with everybody who is being wrongly persecuted," he said. 

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