Five politicians who had recently joined the Trinamool Congress’ Goa unit resigned on Friday, accusing the party of trying “to divide Goans on the basis of religion” ahead of the Assembly polls in the state, ANI reported.

The group includes former Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Lavoo Mamledar, who had joined the Trinamool Congress just three months back. The four other leaders who quit are Ram Mandrekar, Kishor Parwar, Komal Parwar and Sujay Mallik.

In a letter addressed to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the five leaders criticised the Trinamool Congress for allying with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party before the polls.

They said the move was “purely communal” and was meant to “polarise Hindu votes towards MGP [Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party] and Catholic votes towards the AITC [All India Trinamool Congress]”.

Mamledar had been expelled from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in 2019 after he had a fall out with the outfit’s chief Deepak Dhavalikar and his brother Sudin Dhavalikar, The Indian Express reported.

The leaders also accused political strategist Prashant Kishor’s company Indian Political Action Committee or I-PAC of destroying the “secular fabric” of Goa.

“We do not want to continue with a party which is trying to divide Goans,” the letter stated. “We will not allow AITC and the company managing AITC Goa to break the secular fabric of the state and we shall protect it.”

Mamledar and others alleged that I-PAC was using the Trinamool Congress’ poll assurances to collect data of the people in Goa.

In the letter, they pointed out that under the proposed Griha Laxmi Scheme, the Trinamool Congress has promised to provide Rs 5,000 every month to one woman of each family if the party comes to power in Goa. However, the leaders said, that the Laxmi Bhandar scheme – a similar initiative of the West Bengal government – provided just Rs 500 to women in the state.

“This clearly indicates that in Goa the Griha Laxmi Scheme is nothing but a collection of data for elections by the company you have hired as they don’t have any data on the ground,” the letter stated. “When the AITC government has failed to uplift women in West Bengal, we don’t think it would do any good to our Goan mothers and sisters.”