Former Goa chief minister and Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro resigned as member of the state Legislative Assembly on Monday and is likely to join the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Minutes before resigning, Faleiro praised West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC head Mamata Banerjee and said the country needs a leader like her to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Faleiro, who represented the Navelim Assembly seat and was recently made the Goa Congress's campaign committee chief in the wake of the state polls due next year, submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar.
With his resignation, the Congress's strength in the 40-member House has been reduced to four. The Congress had won 17 seats in the 2017 state Assembly elections, but later a number of MLAs resigned from the party.
In July 2019, 10 MLAs quit the party and joined the ruling BJP. Shortly before resigning, Faleiro said the country needs a leader like Mamata Banerjee to counter Narendra Modi.
''I met certain leaders, they said yes, you are a Congressman, I am a Congressman for last 40 years, I will continue to be a Congressman and part of Congress family...,'' Faleiro told reporters at his private residence in Margao, about 30 km from Panaji.
''This family has to come together to fight Modi. Mamata is the one who has given a fight to Narendra Modi and his juggernaut,'' he said.
He further said the ''Mamata formula'' has won in West Bengal.
''She has been able to stand up...she is a street-fighter…,'' the 70-year-old leader said.
Faleiro said Goa is also going through difficult times. ''We need such fighters who have the same wavelength, ideology, principles and programmes. The country needs a leader like Mamata,'' he said.
''I am a Congressman, I would like larger picture of all the Congress parties (which have split from the Congress) to come together and fight the next parliamentary election. I would do everything to achieve this dream. It is definitely my dream,'' he said.
Amid rumours of him joining the TMC, Faleiro had on Sunday said he would make an ''important announcement''.
TMC leader Derek O'Brien told PTI on Saturday in Goa that the party will be contesting the upcoming Assembly polls and they were in touch with several local leaders.
He had said that the TMC will announce its chief ministerial candidate soon.