PANAJI: Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee on Thursday said if Congress could not dislodge the BJP from power in the next month's Goa Assembly elections, Congress' state in-charge P Chidambaram should take the responsibility.
The TMC had approached Chidambaram with a formal offer for pre-poll alliance for the February 14 Goa polls, he told reporters here.
"When we arrived here, parties like Congress and AAP raised questions like (if) TMC was trying to divide anti-BJP votes," said Abhishek, who is TMC's general secretary.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had given a call for like-minded people to forge an alliance, he said.
"MGP (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party) came forward and formed alliance (with TMC) but rest of the parties were busy propagating that TMC is dividing votes," Abhishek said.
Chidambaram was "misleading people to serve his party's interest", the TMC leader alleged.
"Chidambaram said that TMC never made an offer (for alliance). TMC national vice president Pawan Varma made it clear that he went to Chidambaram's house on December 24 at 1.30 pm with the offer," Banerjee said.
"He says there was no concrete offer from TMC. Varma has said that he went to Chidambaram's house and requested him that we should come together keeping our egos aside for the sake of Goans," the TMC leader added.
"If he (Chidambaram) fails to defeat the BJP, he should be the first to resign. He should tell the world that he accepts responsibility," Banerjee further said.
He also said that Congress, which is asking people to give it a chance to rule the state, had emerged as the single largest party in 2017, but could not keep its flock together and 80 per cent of its MLAs defected.
The BJP formed government in Goa in 2017 by cobbling together a coalition.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday hit out at the TMC, alleging that the party was trying to "divide anti-BJP votes" in states, and its claims of organising a united front against the saffron camp was nothing short of a "well-scripted drama".
Chowdhury also said that the Bengal's ruling party, in a tacit understanding with the BJP, was trying to "finish off" the Congress.
The TMC recently announced its first list of candidates for Goa Assembly polls, scheduled next month.
The Mamata Banerjee-led camp is fighting the elections to the 40-member Goa Assembly in alliance with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).
"The TMC's main role is to fracture non-BJP votes in Goa. The TMC, using money power, has bought a few leaders. In a tacit understanding with the BJP, it is trying to hurt the prospects of the Congress and that is a proven fact."
"The party is venturing into states where the Congress is the main opposition of the BJP. It is giving states such as Uttar Pradesh a miss as there are other regional forces," Chowdhury stated.
If you go through TMC's political history, you will see that the party "always tried to bite the hand that helped", the senior Congress leader noted.
"Staring at a humiliating defeat, it is now staging a drama of trying to organise a united fight against the BJP. The TMC is not a trustworthy ally. As it did in Bengal, the party is trying to finish off the Congress in other states, too," he contended.
Responding to Chowdhury's remarks, TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said the Congress should not blame the TMC for its losses in Bengal.
"If the Congress can't fight the BJP, it isn't our fault. Nationally, the Congress has failed to counter the BJP. People are now looking up to the TMC to fight the saffron party," he said.
The TMC, which is trying to make inroads in the political landscapes of other states, has been up in arms against the grand-old party over its alleged failure to confront the BJP.
The ties between the Congress and the TMC got strained after the Bengal's ruling party, in its mouthpiece 'Jago Bangla', asserted that Banerjee, and not Rahul Gandhi, has emerged as the face of the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress on Thursday released another list of five candidates for the February 14 Goa Assembly elections.
With this, the party has so far declared 36 candidates.
While Ekvis Gomes will contest from Panaji, Tukaram Borkar will be the Congress nominee from Siroda and Jose Luis Carlos Almeida will contest from the Vasco-da-Gama seat.
Anthony Dias will be the party candidate from the Benaulim Assembly seat and Amit Patkar will contest from the Curchorem seat for the Congress Party.