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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Mamata in Goa: TMC stands for Temple, Mosque, Church

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee visited three iconic temples in South Goa — the Mangueshi temple, the Shri Mhalsa Narayani Temple and the Tapobhoomi temple.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Panaji |
Updated: October 30, 2021 8:43:53 am
mamata banerjee tmc goa electionsWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with tennis ace Leander Paes in Panaji on Friday. (PTI Photo)

Parrying questions about a possible run for the prime ministership, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said her party stood for ‘Temple, Mosque, Church’.

On her first visit to Goa after the TMC announced it would contest the upcoming Assembly polls, Banerjee also visited a fish market and three temples, and inducted former tennis star Leander Paes, actor Nafisa Ali and several others into the party.

Addressing party workers, Banerjee said, “I am just like your sister. I have not come to capture your power. But my heart touches to see the people when they’re facing trouble.”

Asked if the TMC’s arrival in Goa will dent the opposition votes and benefit the BJP, Banerjee said, “Only when TMC comes we divide the votes? What about the other parties?… There can be no feudal landlord-giri or dadagiri that only Delhi people will contest elections and others will not.”

At her interactions with TMC workers and civil society members, she said in Konkani, “Dillichi dadagiri anik naka (No more bullying by Delhi)”… Goa has everything but it is leaderless. Delhi ka dadagiri is it’s problem.”

Banerjee said that the BJP has often accused her of being ‘anti-Hindu’.

“I am Hindu. Who are you to give me a character certificate?… I am also from a Brahmin family but I did not say all this… I will die but I will never divide the country. We unite people, we don’t divide them,” she said, adding that the TMC’s abbreviation was ‘Temple, Mosque, Church’.

Speaking of a pre-poll alliance, Banerjee said, “We discussed this matter (political alliance) many times for many elections. But no result came from it. Let us stand on our own….I am not an astrologer. This depends on the situation.”

Accusing Goa’s Opposition of “selling” its MLAs to the BJP, Banerjee said, “It was not for the BJP to form the government (in Goa). But how were these 10-12 MLAs stolen and they formed the government?…The problem is that other parties surrender but we never compromise.”

Asked if her journey to becoming the next prime minister would start with Goa, Banerjee said, “It is not about PM or not PM, we launched TMC for the betterment, peace and prosperity of Goa. It will start from Goa to India. We saw BJP’s torture (in West Bengal)… Like how we fought the battle in Bengal, we will fight all over the country because there are other political parties who are not taking initiative. That’s why somebody has to bell the cat.”

Earlier, visiting a fish market in Betim — with an army of mediapersons in tow — Banerjee made four promises to the fishing community — a 2.5 times increase in government subsidy to Rs 75,000, a minimum selling price that fish will be procured at, an allowance of Rs 4,000 per month for those engaged in fishing activities, and the formation of a Fishermen’s Welfare Board and first right over Goan fishing and an end to bull-trawling and LED fishing.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee offers prayer at Tapobhumi Math, in Goa. (PTI Photo)

She also visited three iconic temples in South Goa — the Mangueshi temple, the Shri Mhalsa Narayani Temple and the Tapobhoomi temple.

“Our Hindu religion teaches us to respect Nari Shakti and we welcome and respect her. She has visited our temples and sought the blessings of our gods for her future endevours,” said Sadguru Brahmeshnandacharya Swami of the Tapobhoomi Shree Datta Padmanabh Peeth, that is widely followed by Hindus in Goa.

On Saturday, Banerjee is expected to visit the Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa and a market in Mapusa.

The TMC chief said that she had understood the concerns that people of Goa have and would prepare an election manifesto “in an hour”. “There is still time. We don’t have to rush but it will take us only one hour to make our manifesto. We have understood Goa well.” She also said that the ban on mining had led to loss of livelihoods and Goa needed a mining policy.

Asked about a video by her poll strategist Prashant Kishor, in which he says that the BJP was not going anywhere in a hurry, Banerjee said, “Ask Prashant Kishor, he is a very efficient man. Don’t put it (words) in my mouth. Unhone ho sakta hai yeh bola ke agar hum log theek se nahi karenge toh. Isiliye toh hamne karna shuru kardiya (He may have said that if we don’t work properly. That is why we have started our work).

Earlier, at the International Centre in Dona Paula, the TMC chief inducted former tennis star Leander Paes into the party, saying, “He is my very sweet and cute younger brother.” Paes said that after serving the country with tennis as his vehicle, he had decided to step into politics under Banerjee’s guidance. “My mother is Bengali, my father is Goan. But I bleed India,” said Paes.

He, however, said a decision on entering electoral politics was yet to taken. “You will know about that (contesting election) in the coming weeks. One has to do some homework first,” Paes told the Indian Express.

West Bengal CM and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee interacts with fishing community members at Malim jetty near Panaji, Friday. (PTI Photo)

Also entering the TMC fold was actor Nafisa Ali, formerly with the Congress. Both Paes and Ali live in Goa.

Several Goan politicians were also spotted at the International Centre, including NCP MLA Churchill Alemao, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) leaders Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar and Deepak Dhavalikar, and Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte.

After meeting the TMC chief, Dhavalikar said, “This is a courtesy visit. She is the Chief Minister of West Bengal. I met Arvind Kejriwal also when he came here since he is the Chief Minister of Delhi… There was very little political discussion. It was mainly about Goa’s prospects.”

Khaunte said, “It’s not about joining (TMC). We had some exchange of ideas. The main thing is for all of us (opposition) to come together.”

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