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Mamata Banerjee warns BJP of khela hobe in Goa, UP, Assam and Tripura

The TMC is in talks with a senior Congress leader in Goa who may join the party, according to political sources. Assembly polls in Goa are expected to be held in February-March next year.

Written by Shantanu Chowdhury, MAYURA JANWALKAR | Kolkata, Panaji |
Updated: September 23, 2021 5:27:30 am
Mamata Banerjee while campaigning for the Bhabanipur bypoll on Friday. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

Warning the BJP, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday shared her party’s pan-India plans and vowed to defeat the saffron party in several states, including Goa.

Ahead of the Assembly bpoll in Kolkata’s Bhabanipur, Banerjee said, “This election will give you the strength to fight across the country. We will contest in other states. We will contest in Tripura. Tripura te khela hobe, Assam te khela hobe, Goa te khela hobe, UP te khela hobe. BJP should know that the player who will defeat them has come.”

The TMC is in talks with a senior Congress leader in Goa who may join the party, according to political sources. Assembly polls in Goa are expected to be held in February-March next year.

Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar, however, dismissed the speculation as “rumours”.

“We have full trust and confidence in our senior leader. His name is just being dragged into this for no reason. He is a long-time soldier of the party and we have no reason to question his integrity. These are just rumours,” said Chodankar.

The Congress has five MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly. Ten of its MLAs had defected to the BJP in 2019.

Political strategist Prashant Kishor, who advised TMC during the West Bengal Assembly poll that was fiercely contested against the BJP earlier this year, has also made trips to Goa earlier this month and held discussions with political leaders. Kishore and senior TMC leaders are expected to arrive in Goa this week and a “major announcement” is expected over the next two days, political sources said.

A team from the Kishore-led Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), a political advocacy group, has been assessing the political situation in Goa for weeks.

The TMC, looking to expand its national footprint, has also held informal discussions with political leaders in Goa including those from the Goa Forward Party (GFP).

While Vijai Sardesai, president of the GFP, an estranged ally of the BJP, had said in July that the Congress had in-principle agreed to an alliance with it, the Congress has remained non-committal about any pre-poll alliance.

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