Panaji: TMC Goa has planned to organise a protest against the government’s failure to resolve the high unemployment in the state, at Azad Maidan, on Sunday evening.This will be the first programme under the party’s new committee with Mariano Rodrigues and Samil Volvoikar as joint conveners. “Goa TMC has announced its state committee and its focus is to move ahead by serving the people at the grassroots and continuing our war against the incumbent anti-people BJP government,” said Volvoikar. “TMC Goa is here for the long run.”Non-inclusion of former Goa chief minister and present Rajya Sabha member Luizinho Faleiro in the party’s new committee has set tongues wagging. The TMC leadership has already asked Faleiro to resign as RS member for not following instructions issued by the party ahead of the 2022 state assembly elections and thereafter. He has written a letter to the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, but has not got an appointment so far.Reports from Kolkata say the party is contemplating disciplinary proceedings against him.
PANAJI: By continuing to sideline its Rajya Sabha MP and former Goa CM Luizinho Faleiro from the party’s affairs in Goa, the Bengal-headquartered TMC has confirmed that Faleiro’s honeymoon with it has more or less ended. A section of TMC functionaries is of the view that Faleiro’s RS term should be cut short. “TMC has been nudging Faleiro to resign from the Rajya Sabha since the assembly election fiasco,” said a party functionary. “Faleiro has sought an appointment with Didi but he is not getting one. Faleiro has been given a cold shoulder by Abhishek Banerjee.” TMC sidelined Faleiro by not letting him use officeThe party’s brass, including Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, has been upset with Faleiro since he refused to contest the 2022 assembly election from Fatorda sagainst GFP’s Vijai Sardesai, said some of the party functionaries. While Faleiro remains tight-lipped, sources said that he had been given six months to resign from the Upper House. “The party did everything for him based on the reports prepared by the agency TMC had appointed. The party agreed to make Faleiro Rajya Sabha MP thinking that he would do magic for TMC in the 2022 polls as he was considered a tall leader ín Goa’s politics,” a senior TMC functionary told TOI. With the hype created by his camp in August-September 2021 about his capabilities for Congress in the past, TMC had asked Arpita Ghosh, whose Rajya Sabha term was to end in 2026, to resign to make way for Faleiro. TMC leadership was dumbfounded when Faleiro couldn’t get the party candidate (Valanka Alemao) supported by him, elected from Navelim — a constituency which he had represented several times since early 80s, he said. Faleiro was dropped from the national executive committee and did not find a mention in the ad hoc committee appointed for Goa or the recently reconstituted state executive committee. When asked about Faleiro’s role in the party, MP and TMC leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien described Faleiro as an “honourable man”, a term that O’Brien also used for former Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao, who has since left TMC. “The new committee’s role is to talk to people and find out their issues. Faleirobab is an honourable man,” he said. According to party insiders, given Faleiro’s stature and his role in initially building up TMC last year, the party is averse to forcing him out. “The high command has asked him to gracefully resign in six months. That time is up. Faleiro says that he will wait for Mamata Banerjee to personally tell him and he will do what she tells him,” said a TMC state functionary. TMC functionaries said that the Bengal CM had made it clear to Faleiro when he joined TMC in Kolkata that he will have to contest the assembly elections. While Faleiro had initially agreed, he refused to contest from Fatorda against the “chief betrayer” which led to his declaration as persona non grata, said TMC functionaries. While Faleiro has been taking up Goa’s issues in the Rajya Sabha, the party has subtly sidelined him by refusing to let him use the party office to address press conferences.
The Congress Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Trinamool Congress, CPM in Kerala and the Aam Aadmi Party, holding Mamata Banerjee “singularly responsible” for the rise of the BJP in West Bengal and alleging that the CPM and BJP were two sides of the same coin in Kerala.The party said it was ready to work towards Opposition unity if there is a need for it, but argued it cannot have such a deal with parties intent or hell bent upon weakening the Congress, in its words.The Congress’s strident criticism of the CPM comes after the Left party slammed its Bharat Jodo Yatra, questioning the days Rahul Gandhi will spend during his march in the Left-ruled Kerala compared to those in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.Asserting that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is not a yatra for Opposition unity, AICC general secretary in-charge of communication Jairam Ramesh said: “Bharat Jodo Yatra is a yatra to strengthen the Congress party. Without a strong Congress, you cannot have Opposition unity. Secondly, no political party which wants to ally with the Congress should think that an alliance means I take everything from the Congress and don’t give anything to the Congress. So far, everybody has been trying to weaken the Congress.”Jairam added: “We will not allow this to happen. We will strengthen the Congress party, and if there is need for Opposition unity, we will certainly work towards Opposition unity. But we cannot have Opposition unity with parties who are intent or hell bent on weakening the Congress.”Earlier, Rahul too had said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was meant to bring together the people of the country, and while Opposition unity would help, that was not the primary purpose of it.Addressing questions on the CPM’s criticism at a media interaction in Kerala’s Kollam, Jairam reiterated his claim that the CPM in Kerala was the ‘A team of the BJP’. “At the national level, the CPM has a different view. But in Kerala, the CPM is doing its best to encourage the BJP because only by encouraging the BJP will the CPM succeed in weakening the Congress in Kerala,” he said.“Nationally they may have one view of the Congress… but in the context of Kerala the CPM and the BJP are two sides of the same coin,” he added. “Nationally, if the CPM wants to support the Congress, they are welcome. Remember in 1989, the CPM and BJP had combined to support the V P Singh government. The Congress is the only political party in India which has never had an alliance with the BJP. It cannot have an alliance with the BJP. But every other political party has compromised, including the Left. The Left supported V P Singh along with the BJP to defeat the Congress.”He also argued that Rahul is the only political leader in India who has consistently targeted the BJP. “Even Mamata Banerjee, one day in the morning will praise the RSS, and in the afternoon, she will do something else. Mr Kejriwal, we know, is the ‘B’ team of the BJP. So there is no other political party, there is no other political leader… that is why the ED is set on him (Rahul). He was subjected to 55 hours of questioning on a completely bogus case because he is targeting the Prime Minister and Home Minister. He is raising questions like why all airports, ports are being sold to one man,” the Congress leader said.He elaborated: “Mamata Banerjee is singularly responsible for the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. The Left is singularly responsible for the encouragement of the BJP in Kerala because they know the Congress will get weak if the BJP gets strong. They know this… It suits the Left to fight the BJP instead of fighting the Congress. Why? Because the Left is one extreme and the BJP is another extreme. The centre is only the Congress. So the Left will always prefer to fight with the right because it is easier. But when you are occupying a centre spot, you are in an advantageous position.”Jairam added: “They (the CPM) may come with the Congress in other states. For example, the Left was with us in Manipur. In Tamil Nadu, the ruling party coalition is the DMK, CPM, CPI, the Congress, VCK and some smaller Tamil parties.”He also lashed out at Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “In terms of ideology, they may say whatever they have to say, but in terms of management style, there is absolutely no difference between the CM of Kerala and the Prime Minister. They are identical…identical style. The CM of Kerala is mundu Modi. There is no difference between the two. They don’t listen, they have made up their minds.”
Two developments — the split in the Shiv Sena and the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, and the political trapeze of Nitish Kumar in Bihar — have injected fresh vigour in Indian politics. Maharashtra and Bihar together have 88 seats in Lok Sabha — a little more than a sixth of the total — and are critical for both the BJP and the Opposition.In 2019, the BJP, in alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and JD(U) and LJP in Bihar, had swept these states, winning 80 seats in all — 40 of which were the BJP’s own. In Maharashtra, the Opposition won just 7 seats — and in Bihar, the Congress got 1 seat and the RJD was wiped out.Political equations have been turned on their head now. Nitish Kumar has switched back to the Opposition, which is pushing the narrative that the BJP is friendless — or without allies — and is out to finish all other parties. Indeed, since 2019, the BJP has lost three major allies: Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, and JD(U) in Bihar.But can the Opposition, disparate and divided, find a common thread against the BJP for the 2024 elections? Will it be able to find a face it can agree on, to challenge Narendra Modi? Can Nitish Kumar be that face and unifier?Does the opposition need a face opposite Modi’s for 2024? With the Congress, the central pole in the anti-BJP tent, in terminal decline, several other Opposition stalwarts — Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, K Chandrasekhar Rao, Sharad Pawar — nurse national ambitions. But the appeal of almost all of these leaders is confined largely to their states, and none of them appears willing to accept any of the others.Almost all coalition governments before the Modi era — the United Front, UPA, or even NDA-I — took shape after the elections, with candidates emerging out of negotiations among parties. But the political situation now is completely different from 2004, 1996, or even 1989. The overwhelming dominance of the BJP, the rightward shift of the centre of gravity of mainstream politics, and the hugely successful presidential nature of Modi’s campaign have changed the rules of the game entirely.An influential section of the Opposition spectrum believes that projecting a face, or even entering into a pre-poll anti-BJP alliance, would be counterproductive — and amount to walking into Modi’s trap. They say there is no face in the Opposition space with a pan-Indian appeal. Others argue that there is a pressing need to present an alternative — a credible narrative and a counter story.Can Nitish Kumar be the Opposition’s face, if anti-BJP parties do decide to put up one?Nitish has been Chief Minister of Bihar since 2005, except for a brief period when he stepped aside for Jitan Ram Manjhi in 2014-15. Both his critics and well wishers believe he has national ambitions. He remains a staunch socialist with a record of governance that is unmatched in Bihar.Secular in outlook, Nitish has stitched an impressive caste coalition in his state. He is one of the few anti-BJP leaders of stature in the Hindi heartland, where the BJP pulverized the Opposition in 2014 and 2019. And he carries no taint of corruption.But because of his legendary flip-flops, and especially his move to embrace the BJP in 2017, there is a certain deficit of trust in Nitish. Also, he has no appeal in the South, West, or Northeast.The silence of Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal on Nitish’s switch is telling. The Gandhis too have not spoken. Sharad Pawar has merely said that Nitish has taken a wise step, anticipating the crisis that the BJP was planning to create in his state — a comment which fits into the narrative that the BJP devours its allies.The DMK and Telangana Rashtra Samithi, on the other hand, have appeared enthusiastic. And former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda has tweeted: “…The developments in Bihar [have] made me think of the days when the Janata Dal parivar was under one roof. It has given three PMs. I am in my advanced years but if the younger generation decides, it can offer a good alternative…”Which other leader can be a possible contender to lead the Opposition?The Congress, Mamata, Pawar, and KCR have all said that the Opposition should come together, but no leader has mentioned any specifics; neither has there been any concerted effort at converting speech into action. Kejriwal has maintained a distance from the rest of the Opposition, which he believes suits him politically. Each of these leaders thinks they have a chance — and a roadmap.* Mamata believes the Trinamool Congress can sweep West Bengal, which has 42 seats, and win a handful of seats elsewhere. Many TMC leaders think the Congress will slide further. Mamata is comparatively better placed than the other contenders.* With his party’s influence limited to 17 seats in Telangana, KCR can only hope to emerge as a catalytic agent to bring the Opposition together.* Pawar is head and shoulders above the field in stature. But he is 81, and past his prime. Pawar does not believe a viable Opposition coalition is possible without the Congress.So where does the Congress stand in all of this?The Congress is in a dilemma. Rahul Gandhi seems to believe that the family needs to make a tactical retreat from the leadership of the party. His return as Congress president will automatically pitchfork him as the challenger to Modi, a situation he wants to avoid.With some regional parties challenging the premise of Congress preeminence, the party took a back seat in the selection of opposition candidates for President and Vice President. The party is also ready to explore the option of allowing a non-Congress leader to head, and possibly revive, the largely defunct UPA. But Mamata’s aggression — entering the fray in Goa and trying to lead the Opposition in the selection of the presidential candidate — has not gone down well with the Congress.Mamata can likely be countered better by Pawar or even Nitish. The Bihar CM sent a signal on Wednesday: he has no “daawedari” on Prime Ministerial ambitions, he said, but the BJP should remember that 2014 is the past and they should worry about 2024.A section of the Congress feels the party is too caught up with electing its president to give serious thought to rallying the opposition for 2024. The party also hopes to change the political narrative with its four-month, 3500-km Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra beginning September 7.It is clear that despite the Bihar switch boosting the anti-BJP parties, the Opposition space remains as fluid as ever.
Dropping of Partha Chatterjee as Cabinet minister, stripping of all government and party portfolios from him, and his suspension, all within nine days of his arrest in a school recruitment scam. The speed and unprecedented nature of the Trinamool Congress’s action against one of its topmost leaders has the fingerprints of Abhishek Banerjee all over it.The TMC’s all-India general secretary and fast-rising star, Abhishek has been biding his time in the wings, mindful of aunt Mamata Banerjee’s old guard. But the embarrassment of Chatterjee’s arrest and the alleged crores pouring out of premises linked to him, coming on top of other setbacks to the TMC, have cleared an opening for him to move in.Reacting to the TMC’s action against him, Chatterjee did not hide his displeasure Friday. “Mamata did the right thing, but I am a victim of conspiracy. What the party has done, time will tell whether it is right or not,” he said.In the days following the TMC’s triumphal return to power in West Bengal last year, Abhishek had been tasked with primarily helping the party grow outside the state. However, that project has sputtered following the setbacks in Goa and Tripura, bringing Abhishek’s focus back to Bengal.In recent days, he has not been constrained by lack of seniority, and has taken on a public profile as the TMC’s main troubleshooter, and policy spokesperson. It was he who came out to make the surprise announcement that the TMC, which had taken the lead on a united Opposition candidate for president, would not back a joint vice-president nominee. Mamata, who Opposition leaders said had committed to standing with them, was nowhere to be seen.After Chatterjee was removed as minister Thursday, it was Abhishek again who held a disciplinary committee meeting, where it was decided that the senior leader would also be removed as TMC secretary general.The same day, Abhishek called up protesters agitating against the school scam, including those aspirants looking for jobs, to assure that the government was with them. On Saturday, he held a meeting with them.A senior TMC leader admitted they were surprised at the pace at which things moved against Chatterjee, given that the party never reacted with such alacrity in similar cases before. “Even as the Opposition intensified the demand for Chatterjee’s expulsion from the ministry, similar demand rose from within the party. On Thursday morning, spokesperson Kunal Ghosh (seen as close to Abhishek) sought his removal. They said that the huge recovery of money (from premises linked to Chatterjee) had already tarnished the image of the TMC, and while his removal might not minimise that, at least people would know the TMC does not accept it. But, senior leaders of the party hesitated. Abhishek then quickly took the decision and succeeded in making senior leaders, including Mamata, understand that this is the only way now.”In fact, for the past few months, the Abhishek camp has been at pains to project their 34-year-old leader as a crusader against corruption. This comes against the backdrop of cases against Abhishek and his wife Rujira in an alleged coal smuggling case.Even Abhishek’s rain-drenched speech on the TMC’s July 21 Martyrs Day event – a highlight in the party’s calendar – emphasised that the party would crack the whip on wrongdoers.While there was talk of some tension between Abhishek and Mamata earlier this year, around the time of the civic polls, party leaders say it would be foolhardy to believe the nephew’s purposeful stride now doesn’t have the aunt’s blessing. In case of Chatterjee for example, despite him being one of her closest and oldest lieutenants, Mamata has not made any overtures after the recovery of alleged crores made his position untenable. Sources in the Enforcement Directorate, which has the custody of Chatterjee, claimed that Mamata had ignored repeated calls from him.In contrast, in May 2021, when the CBI had arrested top TMC leaders, including two ministers, in connection with the Narada sting case, Mamata had sat on a dharna demanding their release. The TMC did not take any action against other leaders such as MP Tapas Paul, out on bail after arrest in the Rose Valley ponzi scam case, and MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, also arrested in the case. Madan Mitra remains a minister more than year after he was arrested in the Sarada chit fund case.Said a veteran TMC leader: “The message is clear, especially to old guards at the top. If you slip, the party will no longer be there to hold your hand. The recovery of cash allowed Abhishek to take charge, and through quick action, he is seen to have minimised the damage to the party’s image… Some leaders are unhappy and scared, but who will say that?”This is a departure from January, when Abhishek’s Covid stance that was distinct from the TMC government’s and the touting of his ‘Diamond Harbour’ model – Diamond Harbour is Abhishek’s constituency – had caused the old guard to register their objections with Mamata. Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC, which had rubbed many of them the wrong way with its inputs, was also seen as Abhishek’s import to the TMC.Mamata had finally dissolved all the national portfolios of the TMC, and as chairperson, formed a fresh national working committee. She had also ignored Abhishek’s suggestion that relatives of those with a tainted background not be given tickets for civic polls, or that the party implement a one man-one post formula, or that religious events be postponed on account of Covid restrictions. His talk of “coercion-free” civic polls at the time was seen as an endorsement of the Opposition’s accusations of high-handedness against the TMC.The Opposition in Bengal has said action against Chatterjee was not enough and more heads must roll within the TMC. CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “The money that we have seen is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of crores were looted. That money should be recovered. Pending that, our movement will continue.”BJP leader Amit Malaviya took credit for Chatterjee’s suspension: “BJP’s massive protest against #SSCScam shook Mamata Banerjee’s citadel and forced her to sack corrupt Partha Chaterjee from the Cabinet and party positions, after digging in heels for as long as she could,” he tweeted.
In November 2015, after the results of the Bihar assembly elections, Nitish Kumar was arguably the most likely prime ministerial candidate to oppose Narendra Modi. The chimaera of “opposition unity” too seemed to be a concrete proposition. Nitish, despite being the junior partner in the Mahagathbandhan (the RJD had 80 seats in the assembly, JDU, 21 and Congress, 27), was chief minister once more. His gamble – of abandoning long-time ally BJP, and resigning as CM after an abysmal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections – paid off. Most importantly, he seemed willing to work with old foes; to sacrifice his ego and compromise on his style of politics and governance for a larger political goal.Less than two years later, the Bihar CM quit the Mahagathbandhan and joined hands with the BJP overnight, once again. Today, his stature as a national leader — someone to head a coalition to oppose the formidable political dominance of the BJP-RSS — is greatly diminished.In Nitish’s decisions – and the story of her own rise to power — lies a political parable that Mamata Banerjee would do well to heed.Just two days before the Enforcement Directorate arrested West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, Mamata Banerjee took the surprising decision to instruct the Trinamool Congress’s 221 MLAs, 23 Lok Sabha MPs and 13 Rajya Sabha MPs to abstain from choosing between Jagdeep Dhankhar and Margaret Alva for the post of Vice-President of India. The TMC’s stated reason for not backing the Opposition candidate appears to stem from a petulance about propriety: “You can’t spring a name upon us at 10 minutes’ notice… We are the second largest opposition party in Parliament, and I’m sure we will grow bigger after the 2024 elections,” Derek O’Brien told this newspaper.Perhaps O’Brien has a point. The 2021 Bengal election – pitched almost as a head-to-head battle between the PM and Banerjee – has been perhaps the only major political setback for the BJP since 2019. The TMC, given its position in an electorally significant state – Bengal has the most number of Lok Sabha seats after UP and Maharashtra – must be a pillar of any national opposition formation. Yet, if the party wants to fulfil its national ambitions, it must do more than field candidates in Goa.The scandal around Chatterjee’s arrest by the ED, the unseemly statements by his aide Arpita Mukherjee are unlikely to endear the TMC to the people of Bengal, let alone the rest of India. Unfortunately, this latest episode is not a one-off. The Sharada and Narada scams, and the overwhelming presence of the TMC-backed “syndicate” (the CPM leadership did not have a reputation for indulging in financial corruption) in the state’s economic and political life are not features that inspire confidence. Unlike Nitish Kumar, or even Arvind Kejriwal’s “Delhi model”, Mamata Banerjee does not have a governance story to sell to the rest of the country. That is not to say that Banerjee and the TMC cannot overcome their shortcomings. To do so would require, first and foremost, cleaning house internally (Banerjee has the political mandate and power within her party to do so) and living up to the moral high ground it takes vis a vis the Centre. On the national stage, the TMC needs to display that it has the political maturity and ideological vision to hold together disparate forces. Banerjee, for her part, needs to show the same single-mindedness she did before she became CM to be more than just a regional satrap.The TMC has the potential to be more than just a regional party. It is, after all, an off-shoot of the Congress and not, in its essence, a party based on linguistic identity (the most hopeful Congress sympathisers dream of a reunion between the TMC, INC and NCP – with Sharad Pawar as party president and Banerjee as the PM candidate). The growing presence of Bengali workers across India can provide a foothold for the party beyond the state. Equally significant is the fact that with some exceptions, the TMC’s secular credentials are bona fide. Unlike, say, the Aam Aadmi Party, it has not celebrated the Ram Temple at Ayodhya or set up schemes to send “pilgrims” to the site where the Babri Masjid was destroyed. But what is most significant for the Opposition’s prospects is Banerjee’s political history and ability.It is easy to forget now that the CPM-led left in Bengal was once the most dominant electoral, ideological and organisational political force in any state in India. Its 37 years in power made it the longest-serving democratically-elected communist government in history.Banerjee – first as a young Congress leader and then with the founding of the TMC – fought this force and its vast cadre on the street. She was there at every protest, bore the brunt of severe violence and even when there was little prospect of unseating the CPM, she and her party ensured that when they were present, as the eventual alternative when the bastion falls. Even now, the TMC’s most significant political rally takes place on July 21 – “Martyrs’ Day” – to commemorate the killing of 13 Congress workers who were protesting the CPM’s electoral practices in 1993. Banerjee herself was injured. But her political credentials and modus operandi were set that day. They were visible in the Singur and Nandigram agitations, and eventually led her to the CM’s chair.The Left, for better or worse, stands diminished. But the BJP and RSS are a far greater force – in terms of ideological zeal, cadre, organisation, resources and the perceived use of state agencies to target political opponents. On paper, Banerjee’s record makes her the perfect candidate to lead the charge against this dominant force. But to do so, she must build bridges. The TMC alone is in no position to challenge the BJP beyond Bengal. In the state, too, a divided Opposition could mean the party’s days in office are numbered (the BJP, despite its loss in 2021, has seen a phenomenal rise in both vote- and seat-share in West Bengal since 2014).The state’s economic stagnation and the lack of industrialisation continue to be a problem. The political violence that has marred Bengal’s politics, according to many, has continued and even grown under TMC rule. And the fact remains that Nitish Kumar’s hailing from a Hindi-speaking state was an asset. Banerjee may have more seats and votes in Bengal, but she needs friends across parties to help her broaden the TMC’s appeal.The TMC may believe that its electoral victories are immune to corruption charges. Or, perhaps, that it is best to “abstain” from opposing the BJP to stay in power in Bengal until the saffron tide ebbs from much of the rest of the country. Or that its political future is so secure that it can break ranks over the VP candidate even as the Opposition tried to rally around the party’s erstwhile vice-president for the post of President of India. But Mamata Banerjee ought to know – better than almost any other leader in Indian politics today – that combating the hegemony of an ideological party requires constant work. With another corruption allegation – this time against one of the most senior TMC ministers – the CM needs to recognise that she does not hold all the cards. She must negotiate and build bridges with the rest of the Opposition in good faith.She can certainly go the Nitish Kumar way – and let ego and the crises and contradictions of coalition politics distract her from the larger national political picture. And given the fact that power has not made the Sangh complacent – every election is fought as though it is a make-or-break one – the only sustainable accommodation she will get from the BJP is likely to be similar to Nitish Kumar’s stature in Bihar: A diminished leader, ruling under the suzerainty of Delhi. The firebrand of Bengal is unlikely to be happy with that firstname.lastname@example.org
The de facto number two in the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Abhishek Banerjee is viewed as the heir apparent of his aunt and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Though his rise has caused consternation among certain senior leaders of the party, the Diamond Harbour MP is trying to move beyond his recent troubles and consolidate his position and image both within the party and in the public.Earlier this year, as Covid-19 cases increased, Abhishek’s constituency bucked the trend as the MP’s proactive measures — control rooms in every block, panchayat and municipal ward in South 24 Parganas, and the “Doctors on Wheels” service in five blocks — helped bring down the positivity rate from 20 per cent to one per cent in two weeks. Labelled the Diamond Harbour model of Covid management, the episode enhanced his image in the eyes of people. On the occasion of the Bengali New Year in April, the MP launched Diamond Harbour FC, a football club named after his constituency. At the event, reaching out to everyone across party lines, he said, “This is football. So even if you are from the TMC, the BJP, the Congress or the CPI(M), you are welcome here. If you are in politics, even if you are not, you are welcome here. This is football, which has no place for religion or caste.”On Saturday, as he completed eight years as a parliamentarian, Abhishek launched an “Ek Daake Abhishek” helpline for the people of his constituency. The helpline is modelled on his aunt’s “Didi ke Bolo” initiative. The MP also released a report card titled “Nishobdo Biplab (Silent Revolution)” in which he enlisted the work done in the area during his time in Parliament.But it has not been all smooth sailing for Abhishek. While he and his wife are under investigation in connection with a case of money laundering arising out of a coal scam, some in the TMC old guard have been left unenthused by his rise. This year itself, the MP took several positions that seemed to go against the official party narrative. Ahead of the civic polls, Abhishek suggested that relatives of leaders with a tainted background should not get tickets, but Mamata Banerjee ignored this demand. His demand for a ban on political and religious gatherings during a rise in Covid cases was also unheeded as the state government went ahead with the Gangasagar Mela.The rift between Abhishek and the old guard of the party widened over the candidates’ list for 108 civic bodies. The tussle came to the fore after two candidate lists were released for the polls. While one was published by the party’s senior leaders Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Aroop Biswas, and Subrata Bakshi, another popped up on the party’s official website and was said to have been the one formulated by Prashant Kishor’s company I-PAC. The involvement of I-PAC in the TMC after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which saw the BJP make huge gains in Bengal, largely rested on Abhishek’s support.Earlier this year, the Diamond Harbour MP’s actions and statements drew criticism from senior TMC leader and MP Kalyan Banerjee who called Abhishek’s statements a “challenge to the state government” and declared that he did not consider the 34-year-old his leader. Questioning the work Abhishek did in Diamond Harbour during the Covid surge, he said, “What model? There is only one model, which Mamata Banerjee has come up with … Abhishek is basically lending an advantage to the BJP. If Abhishek Banerjee can win Tripura and Goa, then I will accept him as a leader.”As the internal discord increasingly spilled out into the open, Mamata Banerjee, in an effort to keep the old guard happy, dissolved all national-level portfolios in the party, including Abhishek’s portfolio of national general secretary that he had been elevated to following the Assembly election victory in 2021. The TMC chief then reshuffled party positions, appointing senior leaders such as Yashwant Sinha and Amit Mitra to the national working committee and making Sukhendu Sekhar Roy the national spokesperson. At the same time, she reinstated Abhishek as the TMC’s national general secretary and expressed her faith in him as the leader of the party’s next generation.Abhishek has also had to contend with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED scanner on him and his wife Rujira in a coal scam case. “The CBI and ED are constantly targeting me but I have not lowered my head before them,” the MP said last month. “I am not afraid of any agency or investigation. The ED tried to harass me by calling me to Delhi twice. I have never run away from any agency. I told them if they want to interrogate me, they should come to Bengal. I am a son of this soil. I am ready to answer all questions.”Some senior leaders said Abhishek was trying to follow in his aunt’s footsteps and develop an image of him being larger than the party itself in order to push his aunt to give him more responsibilities.Speaking about Abhishek, a senior TMC leader said, “He is already number two in the party. But, he has to prove himself as a good administrator. That is why he is developing the Diamond Harbour constituency as a model constituency.”The MP still enjoys the support of some of the TMC old guard. “Abhishek Banerjee is probably the most popular youth icon in India,” claimed veteran party leader and MLA Madan Mitra.Taking a dig at the TMC MP over the report card he unveiled on Saturday, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “Successors in dynasties always try to differentiate themselves from others. I do not know what he did in his ‘silent revolution’ but I know all teacher vacancies in West Bengal were silently sold.”
Vlogger Roddur Roy, who was arrested by the Kolkata Police in Goa on Tuesday for allegedly hurling abuses at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and he nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, was on Thursday produced in Bankshall court which remanded him in five days of police custody.Roddur, whose real name is Anirban, was brought to Kolkata from Goa on Wednesday night on a transit remand and was lodged at the Lalbazar prison.“He was sent in police custody till June 14,” said an official. While leaving the courtroom, Roy said he was not a “criminal”.A police vehicle with Roy entered the Bankshall court premises around 2.30 pm amid members of several organisations expressing their solidarity with Roy outside the premises. Upon reaching the court, Roy responded to the crowd by waving his hand.A YouTuber, Roy was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee.Roy purportedly made the remarks during a Facebook Live session on the controversy surrounding Bengali singer Rupankar Bagchi’s comments on KK, who died hours after a live concert in Kolkata on May 31. A section of people, however, strongly condemned his arrest on social media.
The Kolkata police Tuesday arrested YouTuber Roddur Roy in Goa for making ‘derogatory’ remarks against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.“Roddur Roy has been arrested in Goa and will be brought to Kolkata on transit remand,” a senior Kolkata police official told The Indian Express. Roy had reportedly made the remarks during a Facebook live programme.A case was filed against Roy by Trinamool spokesperson Riju Dutta at the Chitpur police station, the police said. Roy had conducted a Facebook live mocking Banerjee’s literary award. He is known for his controversial social media posts.Complaints had filed against Roy at different police stations in Kolkata. Dutta in his complaint had said that Roy was a repeat offender and had “maligned the state of West Bengal” and “perennially uses derogatory remarks against our police force.” The vlogger allegedly hurled abuses at Banerjee, Trinamool Congress MPs and also the Kolkata Police.
Panaji: Former TMC Goa founder member Yatish Naik joined BJP along with his supporters on Monday. Naik had earlier quit Congress following his differences with former GPCC president Girish Chodankar, and had joined TMC ahead of the 2022 assembly elections. However, a few months after he joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party, he called it quits. He had sought to contest the elections from Saligao. The former TMC member was inducted into BJP on Monday by party state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, who said that although Naik had decided to join BJP immediately after he left TMC, he chose to wait until the elections concluded. “Stability and development are the two mantras that can lead the state to prosperity,” Naik said and added that people who are concerned about Goa will agree with BJP’s core philosophy of stability and development. “I will work for the party as per the responsibilities given to me,” he said.
PANAJI: Former TMC Goa founder member Yatish Naik joined BJP along with his supporters on Monday. Naik had earlier quit Congress following his differences with former GPCC president Girish Chodankar, and had joined TMC ahead of the 2022 assembly elections. However, a few months after he joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party, he called it quits. He had sought to contest the elections from Saligao. The former TMC member was inducted into BJP on Monday by party state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, who said that although Naik had decided to join BJP immediately after he left TMC, he chose to wait until the elections concluded. “Stability and development are the two mantras that can lead the state to prosperity,” Naik said and added that people who are concerned about Goa will agree with BJP’s core philosophy of stability and development. “I will work for the party as per the responsibilities given to me,” he said.
PANAJI: Congress fired a fresh salvo at TMC, directly blaming West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee “for helping BJP” win a majority in the Goa assembly elections. Congress’ Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said that TMC’s “massive campaign” helped the West Bengal outfit eat 5% of its vote share, which helped BJP win. At the same time, Rao said that Congress failed to understand the sentiments of the voter, not just in Goa, but across the country. “Mamata Banerjee maybe right on Uttar Pradesh, that the split in opposition votes helped BJP, but she did exactly the same thing in Goa,” Rao said in a tweet. Congress saw its vote share drop to 23.5% in the recently concluded elections with newer entrants such as Revolutionary Goans, AAP and TMC eating into the non-BJP vote. “TMC, with no roots in Goa, did a massive campaign, took 5% votes, won zero seats and helped BJP win. She (Banerjee) must reflect too,” Rao said. He said that Congress failed to effectively communicate the failure of the BJP government and also failed to understand what issues really concerned the people. “Our party has failed to realise the pulse of the people in the states where the elections were held. We felt that the failure of the BJP government, the high cost of living, inflation and the exploitation of the farmers were thought to be the issues, but people seem to have other things on their mind,” Rao said. He said that BJP took advantage of Congress’ inability to connect with the voters which allowed it to win 20 seats in Goa and a majority in other states that went to polls. “Although the five state election results appear to have taken Congress backward, finally we have to respect the mandate of the people,” he said.
Goa poll of exit polls: BJP and Congress are seen close in Goa exit pollsNew Delhi: Goa might be heading for another hung assembly, much like the cliffhanger of 2017, an aggregate of six exit polls have predicted. Data indicates both BJP and the Congress will end up with 16 seats each in the 40-member house. The kingmaker will be Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which might win three seats.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comExit polls do not always get it right. The final results will be revealed on March 10, when counting of votes take place.
Goa Assembly Elections: Aleixo Lourenco said his supporters have asked him to rejoin Congress.Panaji: Weeks after he walked out of the Congress fold, joined the Trinamool Congress and quit it a day before without assigning any reason, former Goa Congress working president Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Monday hinted at rejoining his parent party.He has apologised to his supporters and well-wishers for committing the "mistake" of joining the Mamata Banerjee-led party ahead of the next month's Assembly polls.Addressing a press conference in Panaji on Monday, Mr Lourenco said he had to face severe backlash after deciding to join Trinamool, which he believed would be in the interest of people because he was promised a "new dawn.""I have fought for the people. I had raised their issues in the Legislative Assembly. I have worked for the people with my heart and mind," he said.He said his supporters were apprehensive that joining Trinamool would invite the "outside party" to Goa which will split votes. Mr Lourenco had resigned as the MLA from Curtorim and also as a member of Congress last December to join the Trinamool Congress. He was then working president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee.On Sunday, he resigned from Trinamool without assigning any reason in the letter that he sent to Ms Banerjee informing her about his decision to leave her party.On Monday, he said that his decision to join the Mamata Banerjee-led party was a "mistake" and that he now wanted to be the same person whom people trust."I have hurt many friends and also my near and dear supporters (by crossing over to TMC). I also hurt my family members and those who stood with me in thick and thin," he told reporters.Speaking about his future political course, Mr Lourenco said that his supporters have asked him to rejoin the Congress party.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"Congress leader Michael Lobo has asked me to rejoin the Congress party. I will listen to what my people say," he said.Goa is going to polls on February 14.
Leaves the outfit within a month of joining itPanaji: In a major political development, former Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Sunday quit the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) within a month of joining the party.Reginaldo has sent a letter to the AITC chairperson stating that he has decided to resign from the party with immediate effect.This move of Reginaldo will be a major setback to the Mamata Banerjee-led AITC, which is set to contest the upcoming Goa legislative assembly elections, scheduled to be held on February 14.Though he has sent his resignation letter to the AITC, the former three-time Curtorim MLA did not mention any reason for quitting the Mamata Banerjee-led party.However, it is learnt from sources that former Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, who recently joined the Congress party after resigning from the Bharatiya Janata Party, had met Reginaldo on Saturday evening and tried toconvince him to return to the Congress. Following this, on Sunday afternoon, over 300 supporters from Curtorim met Reginaldo at his residence and asked him to resign from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) immediately.Sources said the supporters also advised him to seek Congress ticket if the party is ready to give it or else contest as an Independent candidate.Reginaldo, who was the working president of the Congress party and declared as the candidate from Curtorim, had resigned as the MLA and the primary member of the Congress party on December 20. He had joined the AITC on the next day.Soon after Reginaldo resigning from the TMC, Lobo requested him to rejoin the Congress party. “To strengthen Goa Congress and to support our purpose of forming a Congress government in 2022 in Goa, I request Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco to join us back,” Lobo tweeted.On the other hand, the AITC MP and its Goa in-charge Mahua Moitra confirmed that the party has received a letter from Reginaldo resigning from the primary membership of the party.“The AITC has received a letter from Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco resigning from the primary membership of the party. We had welcomed him into the party as we have countless others. Now that he wishes to leave, we wish him well,” Moitra said.
The FIR was registered based on a complaint submitted by BJP national general secretary Deepti Rawat Bhardwaj on December 9 at the Mandawali police station. (File Photo/News18 Hindi)Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday slammed the TMC for taking an "anti-Congress" stand ahead of the Goa Assembly polls, and claimed the presence of the Mamata-Banerjee led party in the coastal state will help the ruling BJP the most.In his weekly column "Rokhtok" in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut said the TMC has roped in "unreliable leaders" from other parties, including the Congress, and such an attitude does not suit West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is herself fighting the BJP.The TMC is spending extravagantly in Goa for the Assembly polls and many say the source of funds spent by the party is "somewhere else", he claimed without elaborating. Referring to the current state of affairs in Goa, Raut said all parties have made the state a "political laboratory".The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced that elections to all 40 Assembly constituencies in Goa would be held on February 14. The BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress Party (TMC), and NCP are the main political parties in the fray. "The TMC"s presence in Goa will benefit BJP the most," Raut claimed.RELATED NEWSGoa Reports 1,789 Covid-19 Cases; Positivity Rate Up to 23.25 PcCongress Ready to Take Support of Any Party Willing to Defeat BJP: Chidambaram Banerjee has roped in "unreliable leaders" from other parties. This action doesn"t suit her image, the Rajya Sabha member said. "It is understandable if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP"s aim is to wipe out the Congress"s existence. But, if Banerjee has the same aim, it doesn"t suit her image," Raut said.He noted that in the last Goa Assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats and now, it has been reduced to just two seats. The decline was because the Congress did not have a strong leadership in Goa, Raut opined. Winning Goa is not easy for the ruling BJP, but parties like the AAP and the TMC have put obstacles in the Congress"s path to help the BJP, he claimed. .Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday slammed the TMC for taking an "anti-Congress" stand ahead of the Goa Assembly polls, and claimed the presence of the Mamata-Banerjee led party in the coastal state will help the ruling BJP the most.In his weekly column "Rokhtok" in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut said the TMC has roped in "unreliable leaders" from other parties, including the Congress, and such an attitude does not suit West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is herself fighting the BJP.The TMC is spending extravagantly in Goa for the Assembly polls and many say the source of funds spent by the party is "somewhere else", he claimed without elaborating. Referring to the current state of affairs in Goa, Raut said all parties have made the state a "political laboratory".The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced that elections to all 40 Assembly constituencies in Goa would be held on February 14. The BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress Party (TMC), and NCP are the main political parties in the fray. "The TMC"s presence in Goa will benefit BJP the most," Raut claimed.Goa Reports 1,789 Covid-19 Cases; Positivity Rate Up to 23.25 PcCongress Ready to Take Support of Any Party Willing to Defeat BJP: ChidambaramBanerjee has roped in "unreliable leaders" from other parties. This action doesn"t suit her image, the Rajya Sabha member said. "It is understandable if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP"s aim is to wipe out the Congress"s existence. But, if Banerjee has the same aim, it doesn"t suit her image," Raut said.He noted that in the last Goa Assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats and now, it has been reduced to just two seats. The decline was because the Congress did not have a strong leadership in Goa, Raut opined. Winning Goa is not easy for the ruling BJP, but parties like the AAP and the TMC have put obstacles in the Congress"s path to help the BJP, he claimed. .Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
Team TOI A little over there months ago when West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee warned of “Khela Hobe” in Goa with a view to expanding her TMC footprint into the coastal state, chief minister Pramod Sawant downplayed the development dismissing it as “political tourism”— secure in the belief that any impact it is able to make in Goa would only be at the cost of Congress, as it is unlikely to gain traction in BJP stronghold areas. However, when TMC entered into a pre-poll alliance with MGP, the traditional and natural ally of BJP, it was obvious that it had also aimed to strike at the core of the BJP vote base. The seat-sharing arrangements by TMC and MGP will result in splitting of votes between BJP and MGP, both right wing parties holding appeal to the same demography in crucial constituencies. TMC’s entry into Goa has been characterised by poaching leaders and legislators from established parties and it hopes to see an influx of leaders into the party once the tickets are declared by BJP.
Panaji: TMC on Saturday said that defeating BJP is the most important task and that it is willing to do whatever it takes to prevent BJP from forming the government after the 2022 assembly elections. TMC said that all parties, including AAP, are part of the anti-BJP team. “This time, we will do whatever is necessary. There is no ego involved. We are not going to say what is necessary... you can understand,” TMC MP Mahua Moitra said. “We want to make sure that BJP does not find a way through the side to go and form the next government.” Asked specifically if an alliance or a mahaghatbandan is possible, Moitra said, “We are saying nothing is impossible in politics.” Moitra, who is TMC’s Goa desk in-charge, said that defeating BJP is the most important task and in order to defeat it, TMC and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee are ready to do whatever it takes. She said that the Pramod Sawant-led government is “running the Goa government through the back door” because of the lack of unity in the opposition space. “We are saying that BJP is the biggest enemy, they need to be defeated. TMC does not have any problem, our ego will not stand in the way. We are all committed to get BJP out,” she said. When reminded that Congress and TMC have often traded charges of being B-teams of BJP, Moitra downplayed such statements. “During elections a lot of charges are made that we are B team, they are A team. It happens. There are no such teams. We are all on the anti-BJP team,” she said. While extending the olive branch to Congress, TMC continued to poach Congress members. Former Congress general secretary and Mormugao municipality councillor Saifullah Khan joined TMC along with 16 others. , The new entrants said that TMC is the only credible alternative against the fascist BJP. “If someone wants to defeat BJP, if someone wants to defeat Modi, then Mamata Banerjee is the only option,” Khan said.
Panaji: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant accused the political parties of Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee of indulging in “banner pollution” in the state, and directed the authorities to take necessary action against defacement of public property.“One of the key differences Goa is witnessing in this election is the banner pollution started by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s political parties,” Sawant said.He further said pasting stickers on public and private properties is a blatant disregard to authorities as well as Goa’s beauty.“Some of them are already facing complaints for defacement of public property. I have asked the authorities to deal with such menace strictly,” he added.Meanwhile, North Goa District Collector Ajit Roy has issued show cause notices to political parties over defacement of public properties during the election campaign.The Collector asked these political parties to explain why action should not be initiated against them for defacement of public properties under Goa Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1988.The action has come after complaints were received from the PWD and general public against hoardings and posters erected and pasted on public and private spaces without the permissions.“We have issued show cause notices to Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP and Mamta Banerjee’s TMC for putting up posters at public and private spaces, without the consent of owners, which is blatant disregard to the law of the land,” said an official at the Collector’s office.Meanwhile, South Goa District Collector Ruchika Katyal on Monday asked all the political parties in the state to immediately remove their respective party flags, banners, posters, and hoardings from the government properties and other public places, which are put sans permission. Katyal also asked the government departments like PWD, electricity, GSIDC, WRD etc to remove such banners and poster from their properties.“Violators will invite action under the provision of Goa Prevention of Defacement of Public Property Act if they fail to remove these hoardings, posters, banners etc,” the Collector said in the letters to the political parties.
New Delhi: The Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity’s application for renewal of a licence to receive foreign contributions was turned down by the Union Home Ministry on Christmas Day citing “some adverse inputs”.Announcing the decision in a statement on Monday, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) made it clear that it did not freeze any account of the Missionaries of Charity, but was informed by State Bank of India that the organisation itself had sent a request to the bank to freeze its accounts.The decision of not renewing the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration of the organisation that was founded by Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa to help the poor and the destitute in 1950 led to a political slugfest between the Opposition and the ruling BJP, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leaders terming the move “shocking” and “disgusting”.The Missionaries of Charity issued a brief statement in Kolkata, saying it had asked its centres not to operate any foreign currency account till the issue of renewal of the organisation’s FCRA registration was resolved.The statement signed by Sister M Prema, Superior General of the body, did not clarify whether it had asked SBI to freeze its accounts, as stated by the home ministry.“We would like to clarify that the FCRA registration of the Missionaries of Charity has been neither suspended nor cancelled. There is no freeze order by the MHA on any of our bank accounts. We have been informed that our FCRA renewal has not been approved.“As a measure to ensure there is no lapse, we have asked our centres not to operate any of the FC accounts until the matter is resolved,” the statement said.The home ministry said the application for the renewal of the FCRA registration of the organisation was refused on December 25 for not meeting the eligibility conditions under the FCRA and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR) 2011.“No request or revision application has been received from Missionaries of Charity for review of this refusal of renewal,” the statement said.The registration under the FCRA was valid up to October 31, 2021 which was subsequently extended up to December 31, 2021 along with other FCRA associations whose renewal applications were pending renewal.“However, while considering the Missionaries of Charity’s renewal application, some adverse inputs were noticed. In consideration of these inputs on record, the renewal application of the organisation was not approved,” it said.Slamming the move, Banerjee was the first to come out in support of the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) claiming that the Centre’s move had left “22,000 patients and employees” of the organisation “without food and medicines”.As the government clarified that it had not approved the MoC’s renewal application for “adverse inputs”, the ruling BJP hit out at Banerjee for being “poorly informed”.“Poorly informed Mamata Banerjee gets it wrong, like always. This is what happens when you have an eye on Goa polls and religious polarisation and not governance is the only calling card. TMC’s Bengal model of appeasement has limited appeal, won’t work in rest of India,” Amit Malviya, BJP’s co-incharge of West Bengal, said in a tweet.Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Anand Sharma expressed “shock” at the Centre’s action.“This is indeed shocking. When Mother Teresa wins a Nobel Prize, India rejoices. When her organisation serves the poor and destitute, the government cuts off their funding. Disgraceful,” Tharoor wrote on Twitter.Sharma demanded the Prime Minister’s intervention in the matter and an immediate reversal of the decision.“Shocked at the government’s action of freezing the accounts of Missionaries of Charity. Condemning the cruel, insensitive and inhuman decision which will hurt the ailing and suffering poor the most,” he tweeted.Rajya Sabha MP of the Trinamool Congress Derek O’Brien accused the Centre of carrying out a “hit job” on the Kolkata-headquartered Missionaries of Charity and resorting to “spin doctoring and a cover-up”.
New Delhi: Nearly three months after joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC), its five primary members, including former legislator Lavoo Mamlatdar, on Friday resigned from the party, accusing it of being communal and trying to create a divide between Hindus and Christians for votes. The resignations come just months ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in the state."We had joined the AITC with a hope that it would bring brighter days for Goa and Goans. But it is unfortunate to bring to the notice that AITC has not understood Goa and Goans," the leaders said in their resignation letter to party chief Mamata Banerjee.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"AITC move to polarise Hindu votes towards MGP and Catholic votes towards AITC is purely communal in nature. We do not want to continue with a party that is trying to divide Goans. We will not allow AITC and the company managing AITC Goa to break the secular fabric of the state and we shall protect it," the letter added.Lavoo Mamlatdar had joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party in the last week of September. He was among the first few local leaders in the state to join the Trinamool Congress, which has decided to contest all 40 seats in the Goa Assembly polls, due in February 2022.
Goa Congress' strength in house is down to two. (Image: PTI)In yet another jolt the Congress ahead of the Goa Assembly polls, the party’s state working president, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, resigned as Member of the Legislative Assembly on Monday, reducing the party’s strength to two in the 40-member House. Two other Congress leaders had also recently resigned as MLAs in the state, where elections are due early next year.Notably, the Congress last week declared its first list of eight candidates for the forthcoming state polls, and Lourenco’s name figured in it. Lourenco, who represented the Curtorim Assembly segment in south Goa district, submitted his resignation to the Assembly Speaker’s office on Monday afternoon. He later also resigned from the Congress, sources said. Lourenco, who was the working president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee, was not available for comments.He may join the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) soon, the sources said. Earlier this month, former Goa chief minister Ravi Naik resigned as Congress MLA. A few months back, ex-CM Luizinho Faleiro had also quit the Congress and joined the TMC, which has decided to contest the Goa Assembly polls.In the 2017 Goa Assembly elections, the Congress had won 17 seats in the House and emerged as the single largest party. But, the BJP, which had bagged 13 seats, quickly tied-up with some regional parties and independents to form government in the state.Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
PANAJI: One of the most vocal critics of BJP and chief minister Pramod Sawant, former Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte joined the party on Friday saying his tirade against the party and Sawant were due to "minor differences". Khaunte, who had launched a vitriolic diatribe against Sawant calling him 'Pappu' and even comparing him with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for Covid mismanagement that led to thousands of deaths in the tiniest state, was at pains to justify his move to join BJP. "Forget what I have said earlier. We should move ahead. We have to forget these minor differences and look at the future of Goa," he said. Khaunte, who had even said BJP was filled with "tainted members" and should get a "washing machine to clean them" after he was unceremoniously dropped by Sawant from his cabinet, said: "Today, we have to work together." He said by joining BJP, his "ideas and ideology" has not changed, but he joined to "take my ideas forward". "Political and ideological differences make for vibrant legislation. When we do legislation, there is no personal enmity. It is only about the issue. When we are in opposition and criticise the government, we try to put forth the issues before the government," Khaunte said. The former Porvorim MLA, who has been critical about the three linear projects that cut across the green lung of Goa-Mollem biodiversity hotspot-said his stand has not changed and he would continue to oppose them. "Earlier, we were in the opposition and were trying to put across our point. Today, we have a chance to sit together and resolve the issues in the interest of the state," he said. Khaunte joined BJP in the presence of Sawant, BJP's Goa election in charge Devendra Fadnavis, state party president Sadanand Shet Tanavade and other functionaries. Sawant, while welcoming Khaunte into their fold, tried to downplay the personal attacks against him. "Constructive opposition is required in the assembly and in democracy. Till it is not there, the state cannot function properly. Whenever he has played the opposition's role, we have taken it positively and when required, he has supported the government," Sawant said. "Khaunte has not joined BJP for his gain, but to help the people of the state for the next 20 years. I assure you (Khaunte) that BJP is a parivar and you will get a lot of love. We will work together to expand the parivar," Fadnavis said.
Panaji: One of the most vocal critics of BJP and chief minister Pramod Sawant, former Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte joined the party on Friday saying his tirade against the party and Sawant were due to âminor differencesâ. Khaunte, who had launched a vitriolic diatribe against Sawant calling him âPappuâ and even comparing him with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for Covid mismanagement that led to thousands of deaths in the tiniest state, was at pains to justify his move to join BJP. âForget what I have said earlier. We should move ahead. We have to forget these minor differences and look at the future of Goa,â he said. Khaunte, who had even said BJP was filled with âtainted membersâ and should get a âwashing machine to clean themâ after he was unceremoniously dropped by Sawant from his cabinet, said: âToday, we have to work together.â He said by joining BJP, his âideas and ideologyâ has not changed, but he joined to âtake my ideas forwardâ. âPolitical and ideological differences make for vibrant legislation. When we do legislation, there is no personal enmity. It is only about the issue. When we are in opposition and criticise the government, we try to put forth the issues before the government,â Khaunte said. The former Porvorim MLA, who has been critical about the three linear projects that cut across the green lung of GoaâMollem biodiversity hotspotâsaid his stand has not changed and he would continue to oppose them. âEarlier, we were in the opposition and were trying to put across our point. Today, we have a chance to sit together and resolve the issues in the interest of the state,â he said. Khaunte joined BJP in the presence of Sawant, BJPâs Goa election in charge Devendra Fadnavis, state party president Sadanand Shet Tanavade and other functionaries. Sawant, while welcoming Khaunte into their fold, tried to downplay the personal attacks against him. âConstructive opposition is required in the assembly and in democracy. Till it is not there, the state cannot function properly. Whenever he has played the oppositionâs role, we have taken it positively and when required, he has supported the government,â Sawant said. âKhaunte has not joined BJP for his gain, but to help the people of the state for the next 20 years. I assure you (Khaunte) that BJP is a parivar and you will get a lot of love. We will work together to expand the parivar,â Fadnavis said.
NT NETWORKPanajiFormer MLA of Porvorim constituency Rohan Khaunte joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday along with his large number of supporters, at a special event held in the city.BJP’s Goa election desk in-charge Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanawade were present on the occasion.Sawant, speaking during the induction of Khaunte into BJP, said that the former Porvorim MLA played the role of a constructive opposition in the assembly.“Khaunte had always raised the issues for the welfare of Goa and Goans on the floor of the House,” he added.Chief Minister recalled the reforms implemented by Khaunte during his tenure as the minister for information technology, revenue and labour and employment, which are still being continued by the current government.Fadnavis, in his speech, revealed how a call from the central leadership prompted him to convince Khaunte to join the BJP. He said that with the induction of Khaunte into BJP, entire efficiency had come to the side of BJP.Before joining BJP, Khaunte along with his brother Rajesh sought blessings of the deity Mahalaxmi in city and later walked to the BJP office along with his supporters.Khaunte said that he decided to join BJP only after consulting his workers, Zilla Panchayat members, core groups and well wishers, who gave him a go ahead. He said that during his entire tenure, he spent seven-and-a-half years as an opposition member taking up the issues that are relevant for the state and also for the constituency.Former Porvorim MLA said that he nurtured differences with the chief minister but they were towards creating positive changes in Goa. “The political and ideological differences make democracy vibrant,” he said. After the induction ceremony, Khaunte left for New Delhi accompanied by Fadnavis to meet senior BJP leaders.
He alleged that the TMC was trying to divide Hindu and Christian votes. (File Photo: News18)Nearly three months after joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC), former Goa legislator Lavoo Mamlatdar on Friday resigned from the party, accusing it of being communal and trying to create a divide between Hindus and Christians for votes ahead of the state Assembly polls.The former Ponda MLA had joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party in the last week of September. He was among the first few local leaders in the state to join the TMC, which has decided to contest all 40 seats in the Goa Assembly polls, due in February 2022.He also alleged that the TMC was collecting the data of people in the name of rolling out a welfare scheme for women in the state if it is voted to power after the elections. Talking to reporters after resigning from the party, Mamlatdar said, “I had joined the TMC because I was fully impressed with Mamata Banerjee-led party’s performance in West Bengal (Assembly polls held earlier this year)." “I was under the impression that TMC is a very secular party. But from whatever I have noticed in the last 15-20 days, I came to know that it is worse than the BJP," he alleged. The TMC has forged a pre-poll alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), of which Mamlatdar was an MLA between 2012 and 2017.He alleged that the TMC was trying to divide Hindu and Christian votes. “As part of their pre-poll alliance, they want that the Christian votes should go to the TMC and Hindu votes to the MGP…The TMC is a communal party, which is trying to disturb the secular fabric," he alleged. He accused the TMC of trying to collect the data of people in the name of its Griha Laxmi scheme. “We have found that under its Laxmi Bhandar scheme introduced in West Bengal, only Rs 500 are given, while here they are promising Rs 5,000 to women under the Griha Laxmi scheme, which is next to impossible. The promise of the scheme is entirely to collect data from Goa," he said.Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Leader Binay Tamang Joins TMC, Says Want to see Mamata Banerjee as PMFormer Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Leader Binay Tamang Joins TMC, Says "Hills Top Priority"With PTI inputsRead all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
NT NETWORKPanajiAlina Saldanha, who recently joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on Friday said that BJP is no longer the party of late Manohar Parrikar’s time or the one that her husband late Matanhy Saldanha had joined with a lot of hope for the state and the people of Goa.Speaking in Delhi, Saldanha said, “I had to leave BJP for various reasons. The party seems to have forgotten its principles and that is why I joined AAP which works for betterment of common man.”She had extended support to the campaign that opposed three linear projects planned through Mollem biodiversity hotspot including the track doubling that stands to destroy hundreds of houses in her constituency.Saldanha joined Aam Aadmi Party in the presence of AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi.Speaking about linear projects, Saldanha said she tried to convince Chief Minister Pramod Sawant about the impact Goa will face if tracks are doubled, that it will lead to destruction of many houses in her constituency, so also that coal dust will not only cause air and water pollution but will damage the aquatic life.She said that such projects cannot be termed as development projects because these projects are anti-people. “Therefore, as an elected representative of the people, I felt it was my duty to stand by the people. I will do that till my last breath because that was what my husband would have done,” Saldanha said.“As a matter of fact, if late Saldanha was alive today he would have been fasting somewhere or sitting on the tracks trying to persuade the government to stop the linear projects and would have continued fighting to protect the people and the state,” she said.“I am in Delhi and I have seen developmental projects and progress done by AAP and only then I made up my mind to join the party and renounce BJP,” she added.Kejriwal said, “I want to assure Goans that no such projects will be imposed on Goans without their consent. The people of Goa feel that the central government is bringing these projects to benefit a few capitalists. We are against it. If the AAP government is formed, no work will be done without the consent of the people of Goa,” adding that Goans have lost faith in both the parties Congress as well as BJP.“AAP is the only hope for Goans. If AAP is elected, it will provide an honest government,” he said.
KOLKATA: Extending greetings to people on the occasion of Goa Liberation Day, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday called for taking a pledge to usher in a "new dawn" for the coastal state. Taking to Twitter, Banerjee said, "Greetings to all my Goan brothers and sisters on the 60th Goa Liberation Day. I salute the supreme sacrifice of all our freedom fighters. On this momentous occasion, come let us pledge to usher in a New Dawn for our beautiful state and honour their sacrifice." Greetings to all my Goan brothers and sisters on the 60th #GoaLiberationDay.I salute the supreme sacrifice of allâ¦ https://t.co/wLgck0rOa6— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) 1639879901000 Goa Liberation Day is observed on December 19 every year. It marks the day Indian armed forces freed Goa in 1961 following 450 years of Portuguese rule. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Goa on Sunday to attend Goa Liberation Day celebrations at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium in Goa's Taleigao at around 3pm. Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) aggressively started campaigning for the upcoming polls after former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro joined the party. Last week the TMC supremo was embarked on a three-day visit to the coastal state. Goa is scheduled to go for the Assembly polls in early 2022.
Panaji: To counter BJP’s attempts to portray Trinamool Congress (TMC) as anti-Hindu, TMC functionaries on Wednesday said that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is a staunch Hindu Brahmin, and has the trust of the majority community. Addressing a press conference, TMC spokespersons said that BJP is running a false campaign against Banerjee and TMC ahead of the coming assembly elections. Former MLA Kiran Kandolkar, who began the press conference by chanting a Hindu shloka, said that BJP is trying to portray Banerjee in a “negative light” by calling her pro-Muslim. He also said that aside from West Bengal, there are Muslims settled in Assam too and the BJP-led government should oust the Muslims first instead of pointing fingers at TMC. “Mamata Banerjee is a Brahmin and the daughter of a freedom fighter. In West Bengal, because of the Hindu vote, Mamata won more than 50% vote share,” he said. This is not the first time TMC has highlighted Banerjee’s caste and creed. Banerjee had invoked her Brahmin Shandilya gotra during the Bengal assembly elections held earlier this year after BJP tried to portray TMC as a pro-Muslim party. “BJP keeps saying that TMC is a party of Rohingya Muslims. The BJP needs to study and find where the Rohingya Muslims have come from. Most of them are in Assam where the BJP is ruling. Let the Assam government ask them to move all of them,” said Kandolkar.
Reacting to the political development, CM Sawant said the two parties have no match when it comes to their cultural identities. (File photo: @DrPramodPSawant/Twitter)Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said cultures of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Trinamool Congress, which have forged a pre-poll alliance, do not match. The MGP, Goa’s oldest regional party, on Monday announced it would contest the forthcoming state Assembly elections in an alliance with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) as the combine pitched for good governance as its main poll plank to take on the ruling BJP.Reacting to the political development, CM Sawant said the two parties have no match when it comes to their cultural identities. Where is the MGP’s culture and where is the TMC’s West Bengal culture? We wonder how do they match, he told reporters on Monday evening after attending a meeting of the BJP’s election management committee chaired by former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadanavis. Referring to Goa’s first CM Dayanand Bandodkar, who had founded the MGP, Sawant said, Late Bhausaheb (Dayanand) Bandodkar will not have peace wherever he is." State BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade said I have seen cartoons on various WhatsApp groups. It is shown there that when a lion does not get anything to eat, it eats grass. Notably, lion is the MGP’s election symbol. After the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP, despite winning only 13 seats in the 40-member House compared to 17 bagged by the Congress, quickly stitched an alliance with the MGP and another regional outfit, Goa Forward Party (GFP), to form its government.The MGP and the GFP later split with the saffron outfit. The MGP, which had won three seats in the 2017 polls, is currently left with only one MLA after two of its legislators joined the ruling BJP.Tanavade said when the MGP aligned with the BJP for the first time in 1994, it was a different party altogether. If it is the same party, it would not have tied-up with a political outfit like the TMC, he said. Now, the MGP has been turned into a private limited company of Dhavalikar brothers, Tanavade claimed.IFFI 2021: Kamal Haasan's Ek Duje Ke Liye the Best Movie Shot in Goa, Says State CM Pramod SawantOpposition Seeks Goa CM's Sacking After Satya Pal Malik's Corruption AllegationsThe MGP is headed by Deepak Dhavalikar and his brother Sudin Dhavalikar represents the party in the state Assembly. Deepak Dhavalikar on Monday said details of the MGP’s alliance with the TMC would be announced at a later stage and added the two parties will be sharing seats for polls to the 40-member Assembly.He claimed there was a “wave" against the BJP in Goa and the two parties would seek to capitalise on it in the polls, likely in early 2022. TMC Member of Parliament and Goa desk in-charge Mahua Moitra had said the details of the alliance would be made public before Mamata Banerjee’s scheduled visit to the coastal state on December 13..Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
Panaji: Continuing to attack the Congress-Goa Forward Party (GFP) alliance, All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) said that Congress and GFP are incapable of giving Goa a “credible” government. Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro on Thursday described the development as an “unholy pre-poll alliance” that would just betray people’s mandate again. Responding to a query on a possible alliance with the NCP ahead of 2022 assembly polls, Faleiro said that discussions were on and that nothing concrete had been finalised yet. TMC president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee met with NCP president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday. Though TMC claims it is fighting against BJP, it continues to attack Congress and GFP. He blamed Congress of illegal mining and GFP of permitting the conversion of eco-sensitive land. “GFP has sold Goa, they sold our forests. Our agenda is to fight for Goa,” he said. Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and national general secretary of TMC Abhishek Banerjee are expected to fly down to Goa on December 13.