‘Party is unlikely to win more than two seats in the state’.

 

New Delhi: The All-India Trinamool Congress (AITC), which has been pushing to establish itself as a credible option in Goa, has so far got “less than encouraging” response from the voters of the state. The 40 seats of the Goa Assembly will go to polls in less than 90 days. According to independent political observers and inputs generated by internal surveys, the party is unlikely to win more than two seats in the state. Political consulting group Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC)—which has been working for the TMC in Goa for the last one month—has been interacting with the people of the state to generate feedback and devise its strategies accordingly. Sources aware of the inputs generated from these surveys told The Sunday Guardian that as of today, people of the state were still not accepting the TMC as a serious choice in a state where there are more than five political parties who have dedicated vote bank and dedicated following, including the BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Nationalist Congress Party.

According to local political observers, the chances of AAP doing better than TMC are more as unlike the TMC, which has “air-dropped” into the state just days before the election, AAP has been active and working for more than two years now and their volunteers were very active during the Covid-19 times, helping the people, and this has led to the building of a positive perception about AAP.

However, according to TMC sources, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is very much hopeful that the party will get at least 4-6 seats and ultimately get a say in the formation of the next government. This hope, sources added, was based on inputs that I-PAC has shared with Banerjee. Banerjee, who visited Goa in the last week of October, is again going to the state in mid-December where she will be doing political rallies along with the de facto party chief and national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee who is handling the operational part of the Goa campaign.

“There is no momentum. Two major roadblocks that we are facing is that we started our campaign relatively late due to which people are still not taking us as a serious option; the trust factor is missing. Secondly, the ‘pro-minority’ perception that is one of the USPs for the TMC in West Bengal, is proving to be a negative factor here,” a source aware of the feedback and survey findings told The Sunday Guardian.

The BJP, on the other hand, is ensuring that this particular perception of the TMC is spread across Goa through social media campaigning. As per 2011 census, of the total 15 lakh population of the state, only 1.22 lakh or 8% were Muslims with Hindus (66%) and Christians (25%) forming the major chunk.

The TMC is banking on the goodwill enjoyed by former Congress leader Luizinho Falerio who has been a CM and has served as a MLA for seven times from Navelim, South Goa. He was inducted into the TMC as its Goa face in September and then sent to the Rajya Sabha.

Goa-based senior journalist Arun Sinha, who has covered the state for three decades, said that the TMC was unlikely to make a big impact in this election “Goa is not communal and rejects extreme politics of any kind. The concerns of voters here are different from those in Bengal; there is no sharp divide on communal lines. Faleiro is their nucleus, but he does not have a very strong or magnetic influence. He had lost the last elections. The one advantage that he has is that he has cultivated personal votes that might help him in this election,” Sinha told The Sunday Guardian. The TMC is also in talks with Prasad Gaonkar who is an independent MLA from Sanguem. According to observers, if he joins the TMC, its tally might touch two.