West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to campaign for Trinamool Congress for the February 14 assembly poll in Goa, where the party is in the fray.
Ms Banerjee, who left for a two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh on Monday to campaign for Samajwadi Party for the assembly election in that state, virtually ruled out the possibility of visiting Goa herself saying "someone else is looking into it," The Trinamool supremo told reporters before leaving for Lucknow on Monday that she will be campaigning in the most populous northern state for the sake of opposition unity.
The Trinamool is not contesting in Uttar Pradesh but Ms Banerjee will campaign in that shares a warm relation with SP national president Akhilesh Yadav.
Asked whether she will campaign in Punjab, she replied in the negative. "In Punjab, we (TMC) are not contesting the assembly poll. We will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha poll in Punjab. I am excited about Punjab as I like the people of that state. I know the districts of Punjab as I had visited the place when militancy was at its peak there.
To queries why she is visiting only Uttar Pradesh when assembly polls are being held in five states, Ms Banerjee said "In Goa someone else is looking into it. I am going to some other place (Uttar Pradesh) for the sake of greater opposition unity".
According to Trinamool sources, party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is likely to campaign in Goa.
"Mamata Banerjee had visited Goa in December last year. She was scheduled to visit Goa again for campaigning. But now it seems she is unlikely to visit the state. Party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is most likely to campaign in Goa along with other leaders," a senior TMC leader told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
TMC had launched its Goa campaign in September-October last year, with an eye on contesting assembly polls in the state. Several senior Congress leaders including former chief minister Luizinho Faleiro had joined the party.
Mamata Banerjee had reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in January with an offer for an alliance for the Goa Assembly election but had failed to evoke any positive response.
In an apparent reference to Congress's denial to ally with TMC in Goa, Ms Banerjee said it would have been better had Congress allied with Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
"If they (Cong and SP) had fought together (in UP), it would have been better. If you don't get anything (seats), then it is no use contesting just to cut a few votes of others. We had tried (for alliance in Goa). But they (Cong) did not listen to us. Akhilesh is putting up a good fight in Uttar Pradesh. We are supporting him," she said.
The relationship between Congress and the Trinamool had hit an all time low in 2021. TMC had then slammed the Congress for its alleged failure to fight BJP and dubbed it as an "incapable and incompetent" party that has gone into a "deep freezer".
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)