In a bid to expand its footprint across the nation ― the Election Commission recognises a party as national if it manages to garner 6% of votes polled in at least four states of India ― the party is now making a tenuous point that “fish and football” are two things that connect Bengal and Goa. Trinamool Congress (AITC) head Mamata Banerjee has said she will not allow the Centre’s “dadagiri” to happen in the state. The West Bengal chief minister, however, said neither she was in the state to capture power nor to become the chief minister of Goa.
“Delhichi dadagiri anik naka (No more bullying from Delhi). I am not an outsider, I don’t want to be the CM of Goa,” Mamata Banerjee said in Konkani in her first address in Panaji.
“I am an Indian, I can go anywhere. If Bengal is my motherland, Goa is also my motherland… I come to Goa, they deface my posters. They (BJP) have mental pollution. They showed me black flags, I said namaste,” Mamata Banerjee said.
Several hoardings carrying pictures of Mamata Banerjee were defaced in Goa ahead of her visit, leading to sharp exchanges between the BJP and AITC.
Mamata Banerjee, who is on a three-day tour of the coastal state, arrived in Goa on 28 October evening. On 29 October, actor Nafisa Ali joined the Trinamool Congress (AITC) in Goa in a major boost for the party ahead of next year’s election.
“We believe in democracy and Goa is beautiful. I am not here to capture power, here to help. You love fish, we love fish. You love football, Bengal loves football,” Mamata Banerjee said.
Banerjee was accompanied by former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro, AITC Member of Parliament Derek O’Brien and local leaders.
After securing a thumping win in the Bengal election, the AITC is trying to increase its national footprint and has made inroads in Goa.
On Saturday, Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to hold a press conference followed by a visit to the Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa and Bodgeshwar Temple at Mapusa.