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Luizinho Faleiro heads to Kolkata to join TMC; Cong finds his replacement in Goa

Luizinho Faleiro is expected to join the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC in Kolkata today at what his supporters in Goa describe as a ‘grand induction’ ceremony.
Former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro, who quit the Congress on Monday, is headed to Kolkata to join the Mamata Banerjee-led Trimamool Congress. (Twitter/@luizinhofaleiro)
Updated on Sep 29, 2021 01:57 AM IST
By Gerard de Souza

PANAJI: Former Goa chief minister and former state Congress president Luizinho Faleiro on Tuesday left for Kolkata a day after he resigned as a primary member of the Congress party and as a member of the Goa Legislative assembly. Faleiro is expected to join the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday.

While Faleiro announced his resignation on Monday, he was tight-lipped on his future plans only saying he would “definitely support Mamata Congress.”

“Definitely, I will support Mamata Congress because she has fought, she has succeeded... She symbolises women empowerment which can bring this country back on the rails of development and progress,” Faleiro said, declining to elaborate on his next steps.

On Tuesday, Faleiro left for Kolkata along with some of his loyalists who also resigned from the Congress along with Faleiro. Among those who accompanied him on his Kolkata visit are former Goa Congress general secretaries Yatish Naik, Vijai Pai, secretary Mariano Pinto, former MGP MLA Lavoo Mamledar, civil rights activists Shivdas Naik and Rajendra Kakodkar and Antonio Clovis da Costa, the president of the South Goa Advocates Association and others.

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His induction into the Trinamool Congress is expected to happen on Wednesday in the presence of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee in what his supporters here are describing as a ‘grand induction’ ceremony.

The Congress, which was initially taken aback at Faleiro’s move, has started holding meetings with known Faleiro loyalists. Goa in charge Dinesh Gundu Rao called on former Panaji mayor Surendra Furtado and former MLA Agnelo Fernandes, who have been asked to meet the Congress leadership in Delhi to prevent more desertions.

The Congress also inducted former MLA Avertano Furtado into the Congress. Furtado, who was elected as an independent MLA with the BJP’s support in 2012, said he was “always a Congressman” from the days when his father began working with Faleiro a few decades earlier, but was forced to part ways with the Congress because his pathway was blocked. Now that the path has reopened, the former lawmaker said, he was back.

According to people familiar with the matter, Faleiro is learnt to have been upset with the Congress leadership for ignoring his protests over letting Girish Chodankar continue as state party president. Faleiro expects to lead the state unit of the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming state elections, a leader close to him said.

The ruling BJP, which is likely to benefit due to this high-profile switch, has welcomed what it described the start of ‘political tourism in Goa.’

“We are promoting medical tourism, spiritual tourism, we are promoting hinterland tourism and (now) political tourism. I feel it has started in Goa. Elections are close. I welcome all kinds of tourism, so that all my Goan brothers and sisters have access to a new business in Goa. Tourist business should increase in Goa,” Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said on the sidelines of a function held on Monday.

Avertano Furtado, the Congress’ replacement for Faleiro, lost to Faleiro in the 2017 assembly elections.

The Congress has brushed aside the damage that Luizinho Faleiro’s departure will have on the party, saying that Faleiro opted for a ‘retirement package’ given what it described as his waning political clout back home. The Congress said his departure will be a “blessing in disguise” for the party.

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