Panaji: Veteran Goa Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro today quit his party of 40 years amid signs that he is joining the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee. Shortly before his resignation from the Congress and as an MLA, he effusively praised the Bengal Chief Minister and called her the only “streetfighter” who can give the BJP a tough fight.
“Mamata Banerjee has given a tough fight to Narendra Modi. The Mamata formula has won in Bengal,” Luizinho Faleiro told reporters, asked to confirm that his party switch. Mr Faleiro asserted that he would continue to be a “Congressman of the larger Congress family”, implying that he saw the Trinamool as the Congress offshoot best equipped to fight the BJP.
“I met some people. They said I am a Congressman of 40 years. I will continue to be a Congressman of the Congress family. Among all four Congresses, it is Mamata who has given a tough fight to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and their juggernaut. PM Modi had 200 meetings in Bengal. Amit Shah had 250 meetings. Then there was ED, CBI. But the Mamata formula has won,” said the former Chief Minister.
Mr Faleiro, calling Mamata Banerjee a streetfighter, said: “We need such fighters which are in the same party ideology, policies, principles and programmes. I would like the larger picture all Congress parties to come together to fight the BJP.”
Though he has not made it official till now, many read into indications like the fact that Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien just started following Mr Faleiro on Twitter.
This will be the second prominent defection to the Trinamool after Sushmita Deb’s crossover. While Ms Deb has been given a big role in Tripura ahead of elections next year, Mr Faleiro is likely to bolster the Trinamool in Goa, where the Congress is considerably weakened and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is campaigning aggressively.
Mr Faleiro was the Congress’s in-charge of Tripura for the 2019 national election and could also help the Trinamool in the northeastern state where it is looking to expand its footprint and take on the ruling BJP.
Senior Trinamool Congress leaders Derek O Brien and Prasun Banerjee have been in Goa for talks with Mr Faleiro.
Goa is due to vote next year, along with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and other states.