Veteran Goa Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro quit the party on Monday, NDTV reported. He was a member of the party for 40 years and has been the state’s chief minister.
On Monday morning, Faleiro submitted his resignation as a Congress MLA of Navelim constituency.
Reports speculated that Faleiro might join the Trinamool Congress as he praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Earlier in the day, he said that Goa needed a “streetfighter” like Banerjee to end the state’s suffering, News18 reported. Trinamool Congress leaders Derek O’ Brien and Prasun Banerjee have reportedly been holding talks with Faleiro in Goa.
“Mamata Banerjee has given a tough fight to [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi,” Faleiro told reporters. “Modi had 200 [election] meetings in Bengal. [Home Minister] Amit Shah had 250 meetings. Then there was ED [Enforcement Directorate], CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation]. But the Mamata formula has won.”
Faleiro was referring to the West Bengal Assembly elections held earlier in April-May.
The Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress assumed power in the state for a third consecutive term, winning 213 of the 294 seats. Several Union ministers, including Modi, and the chief ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states had campaigned in West Bengal in the lead up to the elections.
“Let’s end this suffering of Goans and bring a new dawn in Goa,” Faleiro said in a tweet before quitting the Congress.
Speaking to reporters, Faleiro also advocated for a “larger picture of all Congress parties” to put up a fight against the BJP. He added that he would continue to be a “Congressman of the Congress family”. Banerjee founded the Trinamool Congress in 1998 after splitting from the Congress.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress was likely to make a formal announcement about marking its entry into the politics in Goa, the Hindustan Times. The move would be significant ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year.
‘I felt dejected, shocked and utterly betrayed’
In a letter addressed to the residents of his constituency, Faleiro on Monday said that he felt “dejected, shocked and utterly betrayed” after the All India Congress Committee asked him to wait when he wanted to stake claim to form the government in the state in 2017.
Faleiro recalled that during the 2017 elections, the Congress had won 17 of the 40 seats as well as had the support of an Independent MLA. The former Congress leader said that at that time, he had managed to secure the support of three more MLAs, pushing the party’s seat count to 21.
“I had insisted that we submit a letter to the governor, in accordance to the AICC legal department’s advisory, to stake claim to form a Congress-led government,” he said.
Faleiro added: “However, I was prevented from going to the governor by the AICC desk-in charge and asked to wait till we had 24 MLAs, a decision that eventually cost us the government and allowed the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] to steal the mandate through manipulation and inducement.”
The former chief minister said that after the Bharatiya Janata Party retained power in the 2017 elections, the Congress’ strength was reduced to just five MLAs in the Assembly. “Dear Navelkars, the Congress in Goa is, sadly not the same party for which we had sacrificed and fought,” he said.
Faleiro said that he was committed to preserving the ideals of the Congress he has supported his entire life.
He added: “The dream is to bring the divided Congress family, that has always played an unifying role in the history of this country, back together to fight the forces of destruction.”