Leander Paes joins Trinamool Congress in Goa

Published : October 29, 2021 22:14 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and tennis veteran Leander Paes address the media in Panaji on October 29. Photo: PTI

Retired tennis star Leander Paes joined the Trinamool Congress in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee in Goa on October 29.

Retired tennis star Leander Paes joined the Trinamool Congress in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee in Goa on October 29. Mamata, who is touring Goa as her party looks to establish itself as a political force in the State, introduced Paes as her “sweet, cute younger brother.” The same day actress Nafisa Ali, formerly of the Congress, and Mrinalini Deshprabhu, activist from Goa, also joined the Trinamool.

Paes, an Olympic bronze medal winner and a multiple Grand Slam champion in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, said after being inducted into the Trinamool, “I live in Goa. I was born in Bengal. I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the nation. At the end of the day I am a patriotic Indian. For me it's about doing India proud and to make a difference…. Didi's vision is to make India, the largest democracy, a successful nation. I'd like to join in and do my bit for every Indian.”

With elections in Goa just round the corner in 2022, Mamata and the Trinamool Congress are clearly trying to replace the Congress as the main opponent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Training her guns on the Congress, Mamata said at a party meeting, “Somebody can question us as to why we are contesting, and why not let the Congress contest. They contested for 70 years, but what have they done?” She accused the Congress of allowing the BJP to come to power in Goa and claimed that the Congress was not even able to control its own MLAs. “You cannot take a decision in proper time. You allowed the BJP to form the government. Who can say it won’t happen again? She said. Exactly one month earlier, Luizinho Faleiro, former Congress Chief Minister of Goa, joined the Trinamool along with six other Congress leaders and three prominent citizens of Goa.

Taking a swipe at the BJP, Mamata said “Let Goa rule Goa. Delhi’s dadagiri must end. I will set up a system and solve all your problems…. I want Goa to smile…. Some people asked me why I am so interested in Goa, I said it is because Goa is the goldmine of India.” In her three-day visit to the State, Mamata has been meeting representatives of different communities and holding sessions with prominent citizens and activists. She said that she was in Goa not to seize power but to make it as strong as Bengal.

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