Congress veteran P Chidambaram on Sunday said the Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) proposal of a pre-poll alliance for the next month’s Goa Assembly elections was not considered by his party as the Mamata Banerjee-led party “poached” Congress leaders in the state. His statement comes three days after TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said that if the Congress fails to dislodge the BJP from power in Goa, then Chidambaram, who is Congress’ state election in-charge, should own up the responsibility and resign. Banerjee had also said that the TMC had approached Chidambaram with a formal offer for a pre-poll alliance for the February 14 Goa polls.
Talking to reporters here, Chidambaram said there was a suggestion from the TMC for a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in Goa. “What I can say is that there was a suggestion from the TMC that we should form an alliance (in Goa). (But) Before and after that, certain incidents took place,” the senior Congress leader said.
He alleged that the TMC poached Congress leaders in the coastal state. “They poached Luizinho Faleiro, and even after the proposal of alliance, they poached Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, whose name was in the Congress’s first list of the candidates. They also poached in other constituencies, like Mormugao and Vasco,” he said, without naming any leader from these two seats. The former Union minister said that after these incidents, he did not get any instructions from the top leaders in the Congress over the alliance proposal. When asked about Abhishek Banerjee’s statement against him, Chidambaram said, “I don’t want to engage with the TMC general secretary. I occupy a humble position in the Congress party and I would not like to comment.” He said that Congress leaders had met Shiv Sena and NCP leaders over a pre-poll alliance in Goa. “But there was no meeting point, so we did not take it further,” he said.
The Shiv Sena and the NCP have joined hands to contest the elections to the 40-member Goa Assembly, while Congress will be fighting the polls with the Goa Forward Party (GFP). The TMC has tied up with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). Replying to another question, Chidambaram said that Congress candidates in Goa will give their suggestion on whether to announce a chief ministerial candidate in the state. “We will take views of the candidates once nomination process is over and then communicate it to AICC (All India Congress Committee),” he said.
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