Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Trinamool Congress of trying to split the Hindu vote in Goa, alleging it was a claim the party made openly. “The Election Commission should take notice,” he added while speaking at a rally in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Elections are being held today on the 40 seats of BJP-ruled Goa, where the Mamata Banerjee-led party is trying to expand its footprint.
In a recent interview with Times of India, Trinamool’s Mahua Moitra — the party in charge for Goa — had said their alliance with the Sudhin Dhavalikar-led Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP will prevent the consolidation of Hindu votes in the coastal state.
The reference was to north Goa, where the MGP, she insisted, is in a straight contest with the BJP on 13/14 seats. These are seats “that will not vote for the Congress,” she had said, contending that no party will form the government in Goa without help from the alliance.
A hasty post-poll partnership with the MGP had helped the BJP to form government in Goa after the 2017 elections, where Congress had won the maximum number of seats. But Mr Dhavalikar, a minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government in Goa, was dropped in March 2019 when Pramod Sawant took charge.
This time, ahead of the elections, the MGP joined hands with the Trinamool Congress. The turn of events appeared to sting the BJP, which claimed the “cultures” of the two parties “do not match”.
The Trinamool is the latest entrant to the four-cornered contest in Goa, where Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is also in the fray.
Speaking at the Kanpur rally, PM Modi also attacked Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, accusing them of “looting Uttar Pradesh day and night”.
“These people gave free hand to mafias. These ghor pariwarwadi (dynastic people) used to distribute different regions to people in their family. If these people had their way, these people would have made Kanpur’s mafiaganj mohalla in every city,” he said.
“Every time these people come to election, they come with a new partner. Those who change partners, will they help you?” he also said, in a dig at the Samajwadi Party’s tie-up with Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal. The alliance is the BJP’s biggest challenger in the state.
“After losing, they blame their partners for the loss in election. After March 10 you’ll see how they start blaming each other,” he added.