• Ex-TMC state chief accuses Kishor of using Goa polls to blackmail Congress

    National
    “I believe Kishor came to Goa only to blackmail Congress president Sonia Gandhi. We have come to realise that he has used Goa as an example. He came to make a statement that If you do not take me into [the Congress]

    Digital Desk: Former Trinamool Congress (TMC) Goa head Kiran Kandolkar has accused political strategist Prashant Kishor of blackmailing the Congress leadership and inducing a divide in the vote that allowed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) come to power last month.

    “I believe Kishor came to Goa only to blackmail Congress president Sonia Gandhi. We have come to realise that he has used Goa as an example. He came to make a statement that If you do not take me into [the Congress], then I will [ensure] your vote share [goes down]. In Goa, he set that up as his main aim,” he said.

    Kishor turned down an invitation to join the Congress on Tuesday after being asked to join the party's Empowered Action Group for the 2024 elections.


    Kandolkar said that the opposition parties in Goa were divided, and that the BJP now controls the state with 33% of the vote.  “He [Kishor] came to prove...that if you think too little of me, then the way I have ensured your defeat in Goa, similarly at the national level, I will defeat you.”

    Kandolkar was appointed TMC's first state head in the run-up to the February elections in Goa. He resigned on Wednesday, accusing Kishor and the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), which he established, of abandoning Goa and leaving the TMC's state branch with unpaid debts of lakhs and no clear path forward.

    Kandolkar claimed they were tempted to join TMC with big promises that never came true. He stated that he intended to learn from his error. “When Kishor gave us political assurances that we will do this and we will do that for Goa, we were enticed... But as the election date came closer and with eight days left for the elections, PK [Kishor] and I-PAC turned their backs on Goa. Whatever plans they had turned out to be a total failure. He may be a big strategist at the national level, but in Goa, he has failed.”

    He stated that Kishor may say he is not affiliated with I-PAC, which managed the TMC's campaign in Goa, but if that is the case, why did he meet with him 17-18 times? "Every candidate met with Kishor. We can't all be telling the truth. Toward the end, he claimed that he was not even in Goa and was only visiting as a tourist. These falsehoods, like the unpaid debts, have now come back to haunt us... People have been asking me to pay their expenses since I became [state] president. Why should we suffer as a result of their actions, which is why we are resigned?"

    Kandolkar's resignation is the latest in a string of departures from the TMC in Goa. His wife, Kavita, a TMC candidate, resigned last week.

    Kandolkar stated that he had no beef with the TMC's leadership, particularly West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He criticised I-PAC for the party's dismal performance. TMC contested 23 seats in an alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, but failed to win any due to infighting.

    TMC stated that it was reorganising its state committee. "A freshly formed ad hoc committee will be revealed soon." "We would want to use this occasion to reassert our earnest commitment to working for the people of Goa and their well-being," the TMC stated in a statement.

    Kishor and I-PAC did not respond right away.


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