Trinamool Congress made its plans of foraying into Goa’s assembly elections of 2022 increasingly obvious as party MPs Derek O'Brien and Prasoon Banerjee descended into Goa on Thursday, amid indications that TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also likely to step in any time soon. The political turf in Goa is headed for a bigger showdown.
TMC's electoral plunge opens up a Pandora's box for parties, and Goa could witness a further churn among some of the seasoned and disgruntled players. The I-PAC team’s confabulations with various leaders, closed-room discussions, the flurry of activity among politicos and a recent trip to Kolkata by a group goes to highlight the seriousness with which Trinamool is approaching Goa.
TMC appears to be playing to a plan against the backdrop of a 'ground-truthing' survey done by strategist Prashant Kishor. The party will cash in on the rebels in parties, and exploit the cracks of resentment to its advantage. There is a reason why the I-PAC met leaders, and as a professional strategy team, they would know where to dig. The meeting with veteran leader Luizinho Faleiro, a staunch loyalist of the Gandhis, cannot be brushed aside as ‘casual’ talk. There is a sense of purpose.
On the flip side, the TMC outreach could be a moment of reckoning for several leaders across parties who have been dumped or left out in the lurch, or who are relegated and find themselves irrelevant because of changed political equations. Seasoned leaders who have fallen out of favour may find a new avenue in TMC.
Many dissenting leaders will find a new voice to express themselves in TMC. The unheard side of Luizinho Faleiro story has surfaced only after TMC started getting cosy. Voices of anger, betrayal and groupism have started pouring out, highlighting the fact that there is a lot of turbulence underneath the calm surface. The TMC entry will affect parties like the Congress and the BJP which are doing a delicate balancing act by juggling between the recent recruits, old faces, loyal leaders and aspiring candidates.
Electoral interests mostly supersede ideologies and affiliations, and Goa has been a perfect example. Politicos have constantly switched loyalties to hop on to the bandwagon of power, overriding even the mandate of the people. The recent example of a 10-member Congress group jumping ship and joining hands with an ideologically extreme BJP is testimony to the fact that political ambitions are held supreme.
Didi’s Goa entry at this stage comes as a surprise, but it is apparent that she has clearly sighted an opportunity here. Buoyed by the landslide victory in Bengal, up against a fierce campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team of ministers, Mamata has fought her way through on a wheelchair. Her plan in Goa may push parties on the back foot and even force a re-alignment within parties, but all said and done, it remains to be seen who represents Team TMC.