This Article is From Sep 29, 2021

Still In "Congress Family": Goa Leader After Joining Trinamool

Luizinho Faleiro, who walked out as the Congress is trying to cope with a huge crisis in Punjab ahead of an election year, refused today to criticize the Gandhi siblings

Still In 'Congress Family': Goa Leader After Joining Trinamool

Luizinho Faleiro has quit the Congress after 40 years in the party.

Former Goa Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro joined Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress today, insisting that he is still part of the "Congress family" which he would like to help "consolidate".

Underscoring that his "mission" is to defeat the BJP, he said, "I have lived as Congressman for last so many years. As a Congressman, I have the same principles and ideology as (the Trinamool Congress)... The Congress family is TMC, Sharad Pawar Congress, YSR Congress, Indira Congress... I will try to see that Congress family is consolidated".

"I call on all -- YSR Congress etc -- come together as a united Congress family so we can face the BJP. I think the moment has come for everyone to join forces," he added.

"I have requested the leader who you lovingly call 'Didi' and protect the state, the habitat... The Congress family... In the congress family Didi has proved she can fight against the BJP. I hope she can fight under the united Congress banner," the former Goa Chief Minister said.

Ms Banerjee, he said, is the "only leader who has faced the BJP and their divisive agenda" and won. "They could not break Didi's indomitable spirit... We need such street fighters to fight the BJP," he added, after accepting the party flag from her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.

After 40 years in the Congress, Mr Faleiro quit yesterday, telling party chief Sonia Gandhi in his resignation letter that he saw "absolutely no hope or will to prevent the collapse of the party".

"Till now, (no one is) being held accountable for the loss of 13 of our MLAs-- I see absolutely no hope or even the will to prevent the collapse of the party and change for the better," he wrote.

"The Congress in Goa is not the same party for which we had sacrificed and fought. It is functioning contrary to every ideal and principle of its founding fathers," Mr Faleiro added in his letter.

Mr Faleiro, who walked out as the party is trying to cope with a huge crisis in Punjab ahead of an election year, refused today to criticize the Gandhi siblings, who critics say, have been unable to read the situation in Punjab.  The Gandhis had backed Navjot Sidhu after his year-long tug-of-war with Amarinder Singh that led to his exit from the Chief Minister's post earlier this month.

But Mr Sidhu – who hoped to succeed Mr Singh -- quit the post of the party's state unit chief yesterday after a two-month stint, prolonging the political crisis.

"If you expect me to criticise Rahul Gandhi, I will not. I have a 40-year association with the party," Mr Faleiro told reporters in response to questions on the unrest within the Congress, escalated by a fresh letter from its group of in-house critics.

The 70-year-old's induction in Trinamool is expected to boost its chances in the tiny coastal state, which is drawing prominent national parties ahead of next year's assembly elections. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party has added to the line-up.

Mr Faleiro's inputs are also expected to be of great help to the Trinamool in Tripura, where the party is trying to expand its base and aggressively take on the BJP. Mr Faleiro was the Congress in-charge of Tripura in 2019.