The Congress on Tuesday urged the Trinamool Congress to introspect on whether it was strengthening the Bharatiya Janata Party by contesting the Goa Assembly election next year.

At a press conference, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala noted that the Trinamool Congress had contested the 2017 election in Goa as well.

“But what did they do for five years thereafter?” he asked. “Elections are not tourism where you fight one election and then you go away after the election and reappear after five years.”

Surjewala said that he respected their decision to fight the elections independently. However, he added that the Trinamool Congress needed to “understand...what are they fighting?”.

The Congress spokesperson said that often when Opposition parties get notices from the Enforcement Directorate or the Central Bureau of Investigation, they make compromises.

“I don’t blame them,” Surjewala said. “Everybody does not necessarily have the courage to stand for truth, come what may.”

The Congress leader said that his party will support smaller Opposition parties against persecution “even when they oppose us”. He, however, said that other Opposition parties in Goa need to introspect about whether they are strengthening the BJP’s cause, or whether they are trying to carve out their own place in the state’s polity.

The Goa Assembly election is expected to be held early in 2022.

The Trinamool Congress plans to field candidates in all of the state’s 40 Assembly seats, The Hindu reported. The party is attempting an entry into the western state after its massive win in the West Bengal elections held earlier this year.

‘Goa does not have right to stay in power’

Surjewala also referred to allegations by former Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik in an interview to India Today that he was removed from the post as he attempted to protest corruption in the state.

“It is clear that the BJP’s policy is ‘khub khaunga aur khub khilaunga’ [willl engage in corruption, and will help others engage in it too],” the Congress spokesperson said.

Surjewala also demanded Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s resignation. He said that a first information report should be registered against those involved in corruption, and a sitting judge of the Supreme Court should monitor the investigation.