PANAJI: Trinamool Congress forces its Goa face Luizinho Faleiro to resign from Rajya Sabha the very next day after getting stripped of its status as a national party
The tremors of the West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress party getting derecognised as a national party by the Election Commission on Monday were felt in the faraway western coastal state of Goa.
Former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro had to pay the price for it as the Trinamool Congress forced him to resign as the Rajya Sabha MP the very next day.
Faleiro was inducted into Trinamool Congress under a strategy just months before the 2022 Goa Assembly elections in Kolkata by the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.
To display her love for Goa, she made one of her party MPs Arpita Ghosh step down as the Rajya Sabha member and Faleiro was elected unopposed in the resultant by-election in November 2021.
If wishes were horses…
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride proverb was true, Trinamool Congress would have been ruling Goa. Instead, the party received a rude jolt as it was thoroughly rejected by the Goan voters and it failed to even open its account there.
Goa polls had become important for the Trinamool Congress in more than one way. A victory there would have increased Mamata Banerjee’s acceptability as a leader beyond the Bengali-speaking populace and given a fillip to her prime ministerial aspirations.
Unfortunately, the act did not follow the script. Realising that she was waging a lost battle, Mamata Banerjee deserted Goa after one initial visit as hardly enough people turned up to greet or listen to her.
It was expected that the Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai would either merge his party with the Trinamool Congress or join as an ally to become its chief ministerial face.
Sardesai, however, backed out at the last moment. This forced an embarrassed Trinamool Congress to fly in Tennis legend with Goan roots Leander Paes and veteran filmstar Nafisa Ali to Goa to induct them into the party.
The Goa results proved that Mamata Banerjee was far away from becoming a national leader and Trinamool Congress was still quintessentially a party of West Bengal.
Trinamool Congress failed to even get recognised in Goa as a state party which proved crucial in the party getting derecognised as a national party since it is now a state party only in three states – West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.
Price for the Goa debacle
Someone had to pay the price for the Goa misadventure. Trinamool Congress could not have punished noted election strategist Prashant Kishor, who had devised the Goa strategy but left due to growing differences with Banerjee. So, Faleiro was picked up to vent their ire for the Goa debacle.
Prashant Kishor had devised the strategy of taking the Trinamool Congress to Goa and wooed Faleiro to cross over to Trinamool Congress. Faleiro was cut up with the Congress party as he was denied a Rajya Sabha nomination and was feeling sidelined in the party.
Faleiro fell prey to the Rajya Sabha seat carrot that was dangled before him and joined the party. However, he could not create the expected flutter in Goa as only a handful of leaders and workers, mostly followers of Faleiro joined Trinamool Congress.
The only notable entrant was another former Goa Chief Minister Churchill Alemao who crossed over from the Nationalist Congress Party fearing the NCP would not renominate him from his traditional Benaulim constituency of South Goa.
Since Vjai Sardesai had backed out, a spiteful Mamata Banerjee asked Faleiro to contest against Sardesai from his stronghold Fatroda.
Faleiro refused expectedly. Who wants to be defeated in the twilight of a long political career? This did not go down well with “Didi” Mamata Banerjee.
Faleiro was put under pressure to resign and he obliged by tendering his resignation as a Rajya Sabha member on Tuesday.
Trinamool Congress had no qualms about accepting that Faleiro was asked to quit and promptly announced that the party would name its candidate for the vacant Rajya Sabha seat soon.
Goa sunset for Trinamool Congress
Back home in Goa, Faleiro issued a statement saying he decided to resign as the Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal. “I am of the considered opinion that I should free myself of this responsibility to enable to work as a foot soldier again in Goa’s interest in my sunset years in public service,” Faleiro said in a statement.
In all probability, Faleiro and his followers will formally quit the Trinamool Congress soon and the party that aspired to rule Goa will become non-existent in India’s smallest state yet again.
Notably, it was Trinamool Congress’ second failed attempt to enter Goa politics. Earlier it had contested the 2012 elections with 19 of its 20 candidates failing to save their security deposits.
The Faleiro incident is just a reminder for Trinamool Congress that the carrot and stick policy may not be the best course to become a truly national party like its parent party Indian National Congress or the BJP.
If any, Faleiro’s inglorious exit from the party might force leaders of other states to think twice before joining it now. (Source: News Nine)