Broader anti-BJP alliance may be easier said than done in Goa

A Congress leader said the TMC’s offer for a grand alliance has come too late and after the Bengal-based party sought to belittle them
TMC has suggested the opposition parties in Goa could join hands to take on the ruling BJP. (AFP/File)
TMC has suggested the opposition parties in Goa could join hands to take on the ruling BJP. (AFP/File)
Published on Jan 11, 2022 04:30 PM IST
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ByGerard de Souza

PANAJI: Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmaker Mahua Moitra last week suggested the opposition parties in Goa could join hands to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the February 14 assembly elections. In a tweet, she said TMC will do everything possible to defeat BJP in Goa. Moitra said TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has done it in West Bengal and will not shy away from going the extra mile in Goa. She called for ensuring none of the parties in the Opposition ended up supporting the BJP after the polls.

Congress leader P Chidambaram backed the idea by suggesting a day later that his party was open to support from other parties seeking to remove the BJP from power. “Congress is capable of defeating BJP, but if any party wants to support Congress to defeat BJP why should I say no?” Chidambaram said. He added that Congress was yet to receive a formal offer from the TMC. “...for the moment, there was nothing to consider.”

The Goa Forward Party (GFP) too suggested an alliance was on the cards. Vijai Sardesai, the GFP chief, said the Opposition parties needed to “keep egos aside” to defeat the BJP.

But there has been dissonance over the issue within the Opposition camp, suggesting the broader alliance is easier said than done. Congress’s Goa in charge Dinesh Gundu Rao has rejected reports suggesting Rahul Gandhi summoned party leaders to discuss an alliance with TMC as “completely baseless and unfounded.”

Also Read | Goa minister, another MLA quit BJP

The Congress and the GFP have announced an alliance while the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and TMC have separately tied up. Analysts said the broader alliance was unlikely because of the bad blood between Congress and the TMC. TMC is mainly banking on the Congress leaders, who have defected to the Banerjee-led party. The defections earlier triggered a war of words between the two parties.

Political analyst Cleofato Almeida Coutinho said such an alliance “would not be possible” even if desirable. “The TMC and Congress are fighting for the same vote base...”

Rao said the TMC’s offer for a grand alliance has come too late and after the Bengal-based party sought to belittle the Congress. “If they wanted an alliance, they should have come earlier and in a good way. You cannot poach our people and then ask for an alliance.”

The TMC’s first focussed on Banerjee’s strong leadership, which it insisted was best placed to take on the BJP in Goa. It contrasted her leadership style with that of the Congress, which was projected as lacking the intent and mettle to fight the BJP.

Analysts said the broader alliance would ensure the anti-BJP vote is not split. “The decision of the MGP, which claims to have a Hindu conservative vote base, not to align with the BJP has put the ruling party on the back foot. Now, the possible consolidation of the opposition camp would further dent the party. Without (late former chief minister) Manohar Parrikar’s charisma to bank on, the Goa BJP has its back to the wall,” said political observer Mayabhushan Nagvenkar.

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Friday, January 28, 2022