TMC, MGP formalise alliance for Goa polls

Updated on Dec 15, 2021 12:28 AM IST

Speaking at a rally where the alliance was announced, West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said the alliance presented a “real alternative to the BJP”.

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee with MGP leaders after announcing alliance for Goa elections. (ANI)
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee with MGP leaders after announcing alliance for Goa elections. (ANI)
ByGerard de Souza, Hindustan Times, Panaji

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) on Wednesday formalised an alliance before the state assembly elections early next year, pledging to jointly take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Speaking at a rally where the alliance was announced, West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said the alliance presented a “real alternative to the BJP”.

“We are a joint family now. In a joint family, TMC and MGP has become a real alternative in Goa. Vote for us. TMC and MGP will rule in Goa. Those who want to defeat the BJP, we request them to not divide the vote,” Banerjee said at the rally.

The MGP, which gave Goa its first chief minister, is the longest standing political party in the coastal state, albeit one that was reduced to a marginal player by the BJP that gained vote share in the state in the 1990s and 2000s largely at the expense of the MGP.

The MGP currently has a single MLA in the legislative assembly after two of the three elected MLAs switched sides to the BJP, following which party leader Ramkrishna “Sudhin” Dhavalikar, who was deputy chief minister under former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, was dropped from the cabinet by his successor Pramod Sawant.

The Dhavalikars, Sudin and his brother Pandurang “Deepak” Dhavalikar, who is party president, control the affairs of the MGP.

“We formed the alliance for the good of Goa to offer Goa a new dawn and to take us to the zenith of development. To get to the mountain of happiness, we have to cross several hills of despair,” Sudin Dhavalikar said at the rally.

“They (the BJP) stole two of our MLAs and 10 from the Congress (to ensure majority in the assembly). The voters should put an end to this,” Dhavalikar said.

He recalled how present TMC Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro, who switched to the TMC a few months ago from the Congress party, was involved in “stealing” MLAs from the MGP when he was chief minister of Goa in 1999.

“Despite having a full majority of 22 (in the 40-member house), he stole two MGP MLAs,” Dhavalikar recalled, highlighting the differences that remain between the two parties despite the alliance.

Banerjee on her part assured that local affairs will be decided by local leaders.

“I have not come to control you. I do not want outsiders to control Goa. I want insiders,” she said. There was no word on how many seats each party would fight.

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