West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday thanked Goa's independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar for extending his support to the Trinamool Congress (TMC). She also welcomed Gaonkar's brother Santosh, who joined the TMC along with several other followers.
Taking to Twitter, Banerjee wrote: "I am proud to see young leaders stand so firmly in this fight against the oppressive BJP-regime. Thank you for your support @prasadgaonkr13 ji & I welcome Sandesh Gaonkar ji to @AITCofficial." "They speak for India’s youth who WILL NOT stay muted in this battle against fascism," she added.
Earlier in the day, addressing a press conference in Goa in the presence of TMC MP Derek O'Brien, Gaonkar clarified that he would not resign as MLA as of now.
"Goa needs a change and that is why I have decided to support the Mamata Banerjee-led party," the Sanguem MLA said.
Gaonkar had initially supported the Manohar Parrikar-led government when it came to power after the 2017 elections, which he withdrew subsequently.
"What we have seen in Goa during the last five years is unleashing of anti-people policies by BJP. The people are suffering under this government," he said and added that the country is witnessing a "positive change in the form of Mamata Banerjee".
"I am supporting TMC. We have seen how Mamata didi fought back BJP in West Bengal. She epitomises women empowerment," Gaonkar added.
The TMC has decided to contest the Assembly elections in Goa, due next February.
(With PTI inputs)