PANAJI: Trinamool Congress (TMC) general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Thursday claimed that ever since his party forayed into Goa’s electoral politics, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned him eight to ten times at the behest of the BJP.
In controversial remarks, he told Goan voters to “take money from the BJP, but vote for the TMC” in the February 14 assembly polls.
Addressing a public meeting at Cumbharjua in North Goa, he said the BJP has been misusing power” and targeting the TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal.
The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is contesting the assembly polls in Goa in an alliance with the MGP, the state’s oldest regional outfit.
Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew of Mamata Banerjee.
The Trinamool Congress general secretary claimed his party has become a formidable force in the tiny coastal state ruled by the BJP.
“The BJP has been misusing power against the TMC, which has become a formidable force in Goa. Every since the TMC has come to Goa, the Enforcement Directorate, at the behest of the BJP, has summoned me eight to ten times, the Lok Sabha MP claimed.
Banerjee asserted his party will not get intimidated and vowed to fight back.
“I am standing here and I give you my word that no matter how much the BJP tries to intimidate us, we will not bow down before them,” he said.
“Till the time I am alive, till the time blood is flowing through my veins, I will continue to fight for your rights,” the top TMC leader said, making an emotional pitch for his party and seeking votes for it in what is a new terrain for the 24-year-old outfit which is still to make a mark outside its stronghold of West Bengal.
Banerjee told Goan voters to punish the BJP for its “betrayal”.
“You take money from the BJP, but vote for don fula (two flowers – poll symbol of TMC) and betray the BJP like they betrayed Goans in 2017 (when the saffron party came to power),” said the 34-year-old politician.
Banerjee said the greatest betrayal for Goans was in 2017 when “every MLA people voted for sold his soul for Rs 50 crore”.
“Everyone in Goa is aware of this fact. There are 20,000 to 25,000 voters per constituency. So, you can calculate for yourself. One vote for them costs Rs 20,000,” he said.
Besides the BJP, he also targeted the opposition Congress.
The TMC leader said, “Your vote, your trust, your faith, your love, your blessings, your honour is being sold by both the BJP and the Congress for a mere Rs 20,000.
Banerjee said what happened with Goa in 2017 has never happened in any other state during the last 50 years.
“You voted for the Congress and rejected the BJP. But the Congress played with the love and trust of the people of Goa. Buying and selling politics must stop in Goa,” he said.
After the last assembly polls, the Congress emerged as the single largest party, but it was the BJP which formed a government by quickly forging an alliance with smaller parties and Independent MLAs.
Banerjee said the time has come to vote for clean politics and this can be ensured only by the TMC-led alliance.
“Voting for any other party except the Trinamool Congress is equal to voting for the BJP which in turn means defeat of Goa,” he added.
Referring to the BJP’s oft-repated talk of “double engine” goverment, Banerjee dismissed it as “double loot”.
The term “double engine” is used by BJP leaders to refer to the party being in power at the Centre as well as in a state.
“Loot of resources is happening in Goa and another loot of the national exchequer is happening in Delhi (Centre),” the TMC leader said.
The state, which has a 40-member assembly, will go to the polls on February 14 and votes will be counted on March 10.