Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the presence of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in the fray ahead of the Goa Assembly elections will only benefit the BJP as it will cut into Congress votes.
In his weekly column Rokhtok in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut said the TMC has roped in “unreliable leaders” from other parties, including the Congress, and such an attitude does not suit West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is herself fighting the BJP.
“The TMC is spending extravagantly in Goa for the Assembly polls and many say the source of funds spent by the party is ‘somewhere else’,” he claimed without elaborating.
He said the desire of parties to come to power in Goa has turned the coastal state into a “political laboratory”.
The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced that elections to all 40 Assembly constituencies in Goa would be held on February 14.
The BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress Party (TMC), and NCP are the main political parties in the fray.
“The TMC’s presence in Goa will benefit BJP the most,” Raut claimed. “Banerjee has roped in ‘unreliable leaders’ from other parties. This action doesn’t suit her image,” he added.
Asserting that the TMC’s initiatives in the state were “anti-Congress”, Raut said such intentions are expected of the BJP and not Mamata Banerjee.
“It is understandable if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s aim is to wipe out the Congress’s existence. But, if Banerjee has the same aim, it doesn’t suit her image,” Raut said.
He noted that in the last Goa Assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats and now, it has been reduced to just two seats.
The decline was because the Congress did not have a strong leadership in Goa, Raut opined.
“Winning Goa is not easy for the ruling BJP, but parties like the AAP and the TMC have put obstacles in the Congress’s path to help the BJP,” he claimed.
(With inputs from agencies)