Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mahua Moitra on Thursday hit out at the Congress, saying it should realise that its leaders are not "emperors of India" and added that had the grand old party discharged its duty well in Goa, there was no need for the TMC to enter the coastal state's poll fray to defeat the ruling BJP.
She said the TMC is ready for an alliance in Goa as defeating the BJP is the "need of the hour", but added that the Congress should get off its "high horse" and wake up to its depleted strength.
Moitra was reacting to senior Congress leader P Chidamabaram's assertion made earlier in the day that the Congress and the BJP are the two main contestants in Goa and if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the TMC fielded candidates and secured some votes in the upcoming assembly polls, in effect they will be splitting the non-BJP vote.
In an interview to PTI, Chidambaram also said that the TMC and the AAP do not have cadre base in constituencies in Goa and they attempt to build their parties through defections.
Referring to the Congress leader's statements, Moitra said the fight in Goa is between the BJP and anti-BJP forces.
"The anti-BJP forces in Goa today are Congress, AAP and TMC. Now, this is a fight between them. Neither of them can stake a claim that we are the only ones in the fray," she said.
Moitra, who is TMC's desk-in-charge for Goa, said that all the three parties are in the fray in Goa, and this is the reality that the Congress should wake up to.
"I think that it is important for people to realise that if Congress had done its job, there was no need for us (TMC) to be here. We are here because Congress could not do their job. Congress is a platform which is not adequate enough to defeat the BJP," she added.
The TMC is ready for an alliance, Moitra said, adding, "We are saying come to the table and talk to us to see how we can defeat the BJP. This is the need of the hour." She said the people of Goan will respect the fact that the TMC is not sitting on a high horse and that the party has no ego. "TMC is saying if everybody come together we can defeat the BJP," she said.
She said that Chidambaram and Congress leadership should realise that the time is ripe to fight the BJP and the time is also right for the Congress to get off its high horse and realise that it has not been able to fight this battle alone.
Referring to Chidambaram's statement that the Congress was "dismayed" when the TMC "lured" its MLAs into its fold, Moitra said the Congress should not speak about defections as they have welcomed (BJP minister) Michael Lobo, BJP leader Delilah Lobo, former minister Carlose Almeida in the party.
This attitude that if they do it, it is right and if everybody else does it then it is wrong does not suit the Congress. I would like to remind the Congress that all those people who find it impossible to have a fighting platform in the Congress are the ones who are coming to the TMC, she added.
"By Congress' definition, (TMC supremo and West Bengal CM) Mamata Banerjee is a defector. By their definition, (YSR Congress chief and Andhra Pradesh CM) Jagan Reddy is a defector. But these are the people who are chief ministers and running the states. It is high time that Congress wakes up of its depleted strength and realise that they are not emperors of India," she added.
"We appeal to the people of Goa, that we are here to offer an anti-BJP platform. We are open for an anti-BJP platform...we have said that, but if people think that they are emperors and they are doling out largesse, then fine we are there as a platform and Mamata Banerjee is anti-BJP leader," she said.
Assembly polls for all 40 seats in Goa will be held on February 14.
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