Veteran tennis player Leander Paes and actor Nafisa Ali on Friday joined the Trinamool Congress in Goa in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Interestingly, Nafisa Ali had unsuccessfully contested against Banerjee from South Kolkata parliamentary constituency in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
The official Twitter handle of the Trinamool Congress shared photos of Paes joining the party as it wrote, “We are extremely delighted to share that Shri @Leander joined us today in the presence of our Hon’ble Chairperson @MamataOfficial.”
Together, we shall ensure that every single person in this nation sees the Dawn of Democracy that we have been waiting for since 2014!
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) October 29, 2021
As for Nafisa Ali, the party tweeted, “We warmly welcome Nafisa Ali and Mrinalini Deshprabhu into our Goa Trinamool Congress family who joined us today in the presence of our Hon’ble Chairperson @MamataOfficial and Hon’ble Rajya Sabha MP @derekobrienmp.”
We warmly welcome Nafisa Ali and Mrinalini Deshprabhu into our Goa Trinamool Congress family who joined us today in the presence of our Hon'ble Chairperson @MamataOfficial and Hon'ble Rajya Sabha MP @derekobrienmp. https://t.co/g78wae69pT
— AITC Goa (@AITC4Goa) October 29, 2021
According to news agency PTI, Banerjee recalled how she had met Paes when the latter won a bronze medal in the Olympic Games. “I was the sports minister of the country when I (first) met him, she said. I have got my younger brother and sweet and cute brother in the TMC,” she was quoted as saying.
Mamata Banerjee’s party has decided to contest the next year’s assembly polls. Not too long ago, many senior Congress leaders including former chief minister Luizinho Faleiro had joined the Trinamool Congress.
Goa assembly has 40 seats. In 2017 assembly polls, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party but the BJP formed the government by forging an alliance with Goa Forward Party. The Hindutva party later dumped the Goa Forward Party by engineering mass defections from the Congress.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which had failed to win a single seat five years ago, too has decided to enter the contest next year once again. The jury is still out on whether Mamata Banerjee may be able to make a dent in the coastal state, which has seen two successive BJP governments in the last 10 years.