Former Goa Chief Minister and Congress leader for over 40 years, Luizinho Faleiro, joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata, West Bengal on Wednesday, 29 September.
Faleiro had resigned as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Goa's Navelim constituency and as primary member of the Congress on Monday, 27 September.
He, along with nine others from Goa – a mix of politicians and civil society members – joined the TMC as the party enters the electoral fray in Goa, ahead of elections in the state in early 2022.
Who Are TMC's First Set of Inductees in Goa?
Faleiro is a seven-time MLA and was the Congress in-charge for the north-eastern states of India. Faleiro is the first big name to join the TMC in Goa after the party declared that it will contest the upcoming state elections there.
The TMC has no organisational structure in the state and this will be the first time that the party, seen as a regional party based out of Bengal, will make a proper attempt to form government in the state.
The TMC had contested a few seats in Goa in the 2012 Assembly elections, and backed the now NCP leader, Churchill Alemao, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party won no seats in the first instance and Alemao too was not successful.
Apart from Faleiro, here are the other people who have been inducted into the TMC.
Lavoo Mamledar – Former MLA, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). Mamledar was also Deputy Superintendent of Police (SP), Goa Police Services.
Yatish Naik – Former General Secretary, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee.
Vijay Vasudev Poi – Former General Secretary, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee and grassroots leader.
Mario Pinto De Santana – Former Secretary, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee. Santana has also been a sarpanch for 25 years and was the Treasurer of Sports Authority Goa and Indian Red Cross (Goa).
Anand Naik – Former Secretary, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee and four-time elected panchayat member and two-time elected sarpanch from Mayem constituency.
Rabindranath Faleiro – Former Congress State Youth Vice President.
Shivdas Sonu Naik (N Shivdas) – Author, poet and playwright, and a Sahitya Academy award winner.
Rajendra Shivaji Kakodkar – Civil society member and prominent voice on economy and environmental issues in Goa.
Antonio Monteiro Clovis Da Costa – President, South Goa Advocates Association, known for uncovering the oxygen mismanagement in Goa amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My main mission for joining the TMC today is to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," said Faleiro during his joining ceremony, in the presence of TMC's National General Secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee and Rajya Sabha MP Sougata Roy.
"Goa is today backward. But it is the jewel in the crown of India. Goa deserves the best. I'm starting a journey with Didi (Mamata Banerjee) because Goa needs a credible alternative," he added.
The new inductees met TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the West Bengal secretariat, Nabanna, before their formal induction.
All the inductees were flown down to Kolkata from Goa on Tuesday, 28 September. Subsequent joinings are expected to happen in Goa soon.
The TMC's Goa Mission
The TMC announced recently that it will make an electoral foray into Goa after reports that a 200-strong team of the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), run by the TMC's electoral advisor, Prashant Kishor, was camping in Goa.
Subsequently, senior leaders of the TMC, such as MP Derek O'Brien, MP Prasun Banerjee and MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, have been camping in Goa and meeting various leaders from different walks of life.
The TMC has said that the party's leaders in Goa will be "credible faces" from both politics and civil society.
Presently, the main contenders for the Goa elections are the ruling BJP, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The AAP, which fought for the first time in Goa in 2017, did not manage to open its account in that election, with many of its candidates losing deposits.