Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, out to win over Goa, said her Trinamool Congress supports a multi-cultural and multi-religious state and is the only alternative to the BJP rule. TMC stands for “Temple, Mosque and Church”, she said addressing party workers in the coastal state and taking a page out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book of improvising acronyms.
“We are not here to cause vote-splitting but to unite the votes and make the TMC alliance win. This is the alternative to the BJP. If someone wants to support it, it is up to them to make a decision. We have already made a decision. We will fight and die but we will not step back,” added Ms. Banerjee, who is on a three-day tour to Goa.
A Hindu-majority state, Goa has a substantial chunk of Christians — a legacy of its Portuguese past — and a section of Muslims. The state has mostly voted for Congress, though the BJP has been in power there for almost a decade.
The Trinamool — which is expanding her base for the state polls that are due in 2023 — has already gone toe-to-toe with the Congress, with Ms. Banerjee pointing out that the Congress has practically given a walk-over to the BJP in the last election despite being the single largest party.
Ms. Banerjee has also worked out an alliance with the Sudhin Dhavlikar-led Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which had helped the BJP come to power in the state in 2017, and still commands a following in many pockets.
The Trinamool has already started an aggressive campaign after former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro — who was earlier with the Congress — joined the party.
Former tennis star Leander Paes has also joined the party and there is speculation that he will be its face in the next state elections.
The Trinamool Congress plans to contest all 40 seats of the assembly of the state, which the party insists is almost a sister state to Bengal. The party has pointed out that both Bengal and Goa are coastal states and share an equal fondness for fish and football.