Senior leaders of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Cogress (TMC), including party MPs, staged a protest in Goa on October 25 after the administration in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government withdrew its permission for a TMC event, in which the political newcomer in the state was scheduled to release a charge-sheet against Goa’s Pramod Sawant regime.
The TMC leaders who staged a demonstration at Azad Maidan in Panaji included Lok Sabha MPs Sougata Roy and Mahua Moitra, former Goa chief minister-turned TMC national vice-president Luizinho Faleiro and former Union minister Babul Supriyo.
Goa is the second BJP-ruled state that has recently denied permission to the TMC’s political events, after Tripura’s Biplab Deb government denied permission to TMC’s programmes repeatedly.
Earlier in the day, the TMC delegation met the family of Siddhi Naik, the 19-year-old girl whose mysterious death on a Goa beach in August had triggered outrage. The investigation into her death has been facing criticism from political quarters as well as the media in the state.
“The investigation has not been done properly. The autopsy was not conducted in the right way. Only one doctor was present instead of three; viscera samples were not preserved. The post mortem report says it was death by drowning, but our contention is that there was some foul play,” Roy said after visiting Naik’s family.
Later, at the demonstration at Azad Maidan following the alleged last-minute withdrawal of permission to the event scheduled for releasing a “people’s chargesheet against the misrule of previous governments”, Moitra said, “We think Goa deserves better and we think Mamata Banerjee can do it.”
The TMC claimed permission for the event was given four days ago but withdrawn at the last moment citing law and order issues. No one from the Goa administration could be reached for comments till filing this report.
The TMC’s late entry in Goa politics ahead of the assembly elections early next year has created a great deal of buzz in the media. The Congress has alleged that the TMC had entered the scene to aid the BJP retain power by dividing opposition votes, while the TMC contends that they had to come in because the Congress abjectly failed in taking on the BJP.
The TMC is now luring leaders from other parties into its fold--mainly from the Congress, but also from the BJP and Aam Admi Party (AAP), another new entrant in state politics.
The TMC-BJP tussle has also spread to social media platforms, with the TMC releasing an illustration that shows Banerjee’s trademark blue and white slipper crushing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.
Taking a dig at it, the BJP Goa said from its Twitter handle, “Having murdered, raped and tortured BJP workers in Bengal, TMC plans to further their agenda of crushing people & democracy in Goa. On behalf of people of Goa, we condemn such blatant display of violent tendencies.”
Banerjee is scheduled to visit Goa for a two-day trip on October 28. Senior TMC leaders have hinted that a few prominent civil society personalities may join the TMC in her presence.