Updated: September 30, 2021 10:02:18 pm
Speaking at the TMC’s first press conference in Panaji on Thursday, former state chief minister Luizinho Faleiro, who joined the party yesterday, said political strategist Prashant Kishor had had an interaction with him a “few days” before he decided to sever his 40-year-old relationship with the Congress.
Faleiro said he was meeting senior TMC leaders for the first time Thursday. He had earlier said he had been in talks with Kishor-led I-PAC but not the TMC.
Faleiro and nine others from Goa, who joined the TMC in Kolkata, addressed the media against a Goa TMC banner, bearing party chief Mamata Banerjee’s face. TMC has entered the poll fray in Goa with the slogan ‘Goenchi Navi Sakal (Goa’s new dawn).’
Senior TMC leaders Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, TMC Chief whip in Rajya Sabha Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Lok Sabha MP Prasun Banerjee, West Bengal Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Manoj Tiwary attended the press conference. They were, however, seated under the dais and did not address the press.
“They are senior leaders of not just TMC but great national leaders. But I had not met them. I met I-PAC. I met Mr Prashant Kishor of I-PAC, I met him just before I took the decision. We had an interaction. It was a very, very difficult decision for me to leave the Congress party but finally, I thought in the interest of Goa, in the interest of the country, defeating the BJP is the only way to go forward.”
While speculation was rife that Faleiro may be offered a Rajya Sabha MP seat from the TMC, he said no such offer had been made to him and he would think about it only if was proposed.
“Nobody has offered me anything. In fact, I have gone and asked Didi to please come to Goa,” said Faleiro. When asked if he would accept a Rajya Sabha seat if offered, he said, “Let the offer come, then I will reply to you.”
He said, “What I get, whether I will contest elections, not contest elections, you know….last time in 2017 I did not want to contest, I took the decision just 15 days before election. This time, I will tell you whether I will contest or not at the appropriate time, but remember TMC is going to do a survey constituency-wise. TMC will take the views of the people, we will have the details, and then we will decide who will be the face of that constituency, who will be the face for chief ministership. Then we will inform you.”
He said that a young team from I-PAC was at work in Goa and was visiting all constituencies. The team consisting of I-PAC members in the age group of 25 to 30, Faleiro said, had brought “valuable inputs” to them.
But in Goa, where ‘Goenkar (Goan) versus Bhaille (outsiders)’ has been a top poll pitch, Faleiro offered an explanation for the Kolkata-headquartered party. “These (I-PAC) are not people from Bengal. They have come from all over the country,” he said.
“Today politics is a science and you have to be scientifically correct. I think I-PAC, they are wizards when it comes to political science,” said Faleiro.
While Faleiro did not mention the extent of enrollment in the party that has just set up shop in the coastal state, he said many people of repute had shown interest in joining the TMC.
“Any movement starts small. This movement will catch up within the next month and you will see all the committees at the state level, the district level, the block level at the booth level and we will make sure we will fight elections in all 40 constituencies of Goa.”
He said TMC had 41 per cent representation of women among elected representatives, when the national average was hardly 12 per cent. He made an appeal to the women of Goa to join the TMC, saying the numbers were an “eloquent testimony of TMC’s power to empower women.”
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