Mamata Banerjee to visit poll-bound Goa next week

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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will embark on a two-day visit to poll-bound Goa next week, a TMC leader said on Friday.

Elections to the 40-member Goa assembly will be held early next year.

“After returning from her north Bengal visit, the TMC chief will leave for Goa on October 28 on a two-day visit. She will hold meetings with party leaders in the coastal state. Her itinerary, however, is yet to be finalised,” he said.

The Trinamool Congress, after its stunning victory in the West Bengal assembly elections earlier this year, is trying to increase its footprint nationally and has made inroads in BJP-ruled Goa and Tripura.

Former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and several other Congress leaders had joined the TMC last month.

Although TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee had ruled out the possibility of allying with any other party for the upcoming assembly polls in Goa, the party supremo is likely to meet leaders of smaller parties in the state.

“Mamata Di might meet some leaders of smaller parties not necessarily for any alliance but may be to invite them to join our party,” another TMC leader said.

The West Bengal unit of the BJP and the Congress mocked Banerjee’s visit as “political tourism to the coastal state”.

“The weather in Goa now is apt for tourists. She is going there for a vacation,” BJP state spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said.

Senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said her visit wouldn’t yield any results and is aimed at helping “her ally BJP” in Goa.

“The TMC has been constantly attacking the Congress and poaching our leaders. The political posturing of the TMC is aimed at helping the BJP. In Goa too, they are planning to do the same thing,” he said.

Former Congress women’s wing chief and senior party leader from Assam, Sushmita Dev, had earlier quit the grand old party to join the TMC.

The Trinamool Congress has been up in arms against the Congress over its alleged failure to fight the BJP.

Earlier this month, the relationship between the Congress and the TMC touched a new low after the ruling party in West Bengal took a dig at Rahul Gandhi’s defeat at Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by wondering whether the Congress would erase the defeat with a Twitter trend.

The two party’s relationship was strained after TMC mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’ claimed that party supremo Mamata Banerjee, and not Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, is the face of the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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