If anyone wants to defeat BJP, it is up to them to support us: Mamata in Goa
Benaulim: Raising 'Khel Jatlo' slogan in poll-bound Goa on Monday, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson Mamata Banerjee — who is on a three-day visit to the coastal state — said TMC was the only "alternative to BJP in Goa" and the Congress was welcome to join the alliance set up by her party to oust the saffron brigade in the coastal state. Exuding confidence that her party would win the forthcoming state Assembly elections, slated to be held in February 2022, Banerjee said if anyone wanted to defeat the BJP in Goa, it was up to them to support Trinamool.
Dubbing Goa as a "cute, beautiful and intelligent state", Banerjee, while addressing local TMC leaders, stated that her party entered the poll fray not to control the state or become Chief Minister, but to use their experience to help Goan people in the elections.
The TMC has already forged an alliance with the state's oldest regional outfit Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) for polls to the 40-member Goa Assembly due early next year. "Any political party is welcome to join the alliance. We want the Opposition vote to be united and not divided," she said.
Criticising the Congress, Banerjee said: "We waited so long. It (Congress) considers itself to be a Zamindar. In Bengal, they had an understanding with the CPI(M) and when I realised that Congress would never launch any movement to oust the CPI(M), I moved out and set up Trinamool Congress."
She further added: "All these years we did not come to Goa, but we realised no one was doing anything. No one was fighting against the BJP. That is why we thought of coming here." In a veiled reference to the Congress, Banerjee said: "When you can fight against us in Bengal, why can't we fight against you in Goa. We want to work with you, but we will fight (on our own). We won't listen to you and do 'half understanding' with the BJP."
Banerjee said she had a plan for Goa, just the way she had for Bengal, which would be implemented in the coastal state within six months of coming to power. She said earlier her party had not thought of contesting in Goa, but when it was realised that other parties were not giving a fight to the BJP, the TMC decided to jump into the poll fray.
Banerjee said there would be 'Khel Jatlo' in Goa. She had earlier raised the 'Khela Hobe' slogan during the Bengal Assembly polls campaign. "BJP ke khilaf me khela hobe, khel jatlo, BJP hatao," the TMC chief said, while raising the pitch for ousting the BJP from power in Goa.
Banerjee said people wanted BJP to go because of its "zero tolerance and zero governance." She alleged that BJP was destroying the country, its culture and heritage. "They have distorted history and our future generations will learn distorted history," she maintained.
Condemning the BJP for its partisan and divisive politics, Banerjee said: "A Hindu should be tolerant and must have a big heart. BJP speaks of Hinduism which is devoid of tolerance," she said, adding: "In Bengal all the religious festivals are observed with respect. The Christmas festival is observed with great enthusiasm. We do not believe in the division of society on the basis of religion."
She urged people to get united and vote against the BJP in the Assembly election. She said films and football are among various things that connect Bengal and Goa. Several football legends from Bengal would be arriving in Goa to campaign for the TMC along with local leaders, she added.
Banerjee further said she had lent a lot of support to the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited project in Goa during her tenure as the country's Railway minister. She even accused the BJP of creating a fake video by showing visuals of Bangladesh to project it as a human rights violation in Bengal.
"We have gone to the Supreme Court against the video. They (BJP) want to finish Bengal, they want to finish Mamata Banerjee. Let them do it. Let us fight, let us work, that's why we have come here. We have not come here to control Goa or become CM. Goan people will be the face (in the elections), we will help them with our experience," Banerjee said.
Meanwhile, Abhishek Banerjee, the national general secretary of Trinamool Congress, urged people to vote for TMC for all-round development of Goa. He said: "In 2017, BJP made a back door entry, now the people of Goa will show them a front door exit in the 2022 Assembly election."
MLA Churchill Alemao and his daughter Valanka joined Trinamool Congress in presence of Mamata Banerjee. The famous football team Churchill Brothers is owned by Alemao's family.
Later TMC tweeted: "Today, in the presence of our Chairperson @MamataOfficial, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao and his daughter Valanka Alemao joined our Trinamool Congress family. We are elated to welcome them! Together, let's ensure that Goa scales greater heights."
Earlier, in the day Mamata Banerjee met several senior editors and interacted with them. She also met the workers and asked them to put in all the hard work to ensure that the Opposition vote is not divided.