NEW DELHI: Voters in the coastal state of Goa have poured cold water, at least for now, on the Trinamool Congress' plans to expand its footprint beyond West Bengal and emerge as a nationwide party challenging the BJP.
Its show in the Goa assembly election failed to match the noise it made while entering the poll fray, with no seat to show for its efforts.
Even its pre-poll partner, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, has extended its hand in support of the BJP which won 20 of the 40 seats in the state.
The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) made a splash by inducting former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and tennis legend Leander Paes into its fold, and with the slogan Goenchi Navi Sakal (New Dawn for Goa), the party had launched a high decibel campaign, mainly run by political strategist Prashant Kishor's Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC).
The defeat in Goa came on the back of the party's resounding victory in the West Bengal assembly polls and at a time when the TMC is looking to expand its electoral base across the country with ambitions in Tripura, Meghalaya, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
Further, it will be a setback also for TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee who has her eyes set on building an alliance of non-BJP opposition parties to take on the saffron party with her at the helm.
Now in power in Delhi and Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose chief Arvind Kejriwal has been called "brother" by Banerjee on several occasions, has more electoral weight going forward.
Sources in the TMC, however, indicated that the party is buoyed by its 5.21 per cent vote share in Goa and came second in four seats, an achievement given that it walked into the electoral fray in the state barely five months ago.
Party leaders have blamed the Congress for division of opposition votes which, they claim, has led to the victory of the BJP.
While the Congress' vote share has come down, the BJP has not been able to improve its share, a source said.
He also said that the Revolutionary Goans Party has also cut into TMC votes.
"Congress kept saying in Goa that they'll form the govt by themselves. They rebuffed and mocked Opposition parties that proposed an alliance. All Opposition parties know that a like-minded alliance alone can defeat the BJP. But Congress' arrogance is the never-ending problem," tweeted TMC national spokesperson Saket Gokhale.
The sources said that the TMC is here to stay in Goa and the setback here will not stop its juggernaut from expanding its base in other states.
The next stop is Meghalaya, they said, where it will contest all 60 seats.