New Delhi:

Tennis veteran Leander Paes joined the Trinamool Congress today, the third celebrity – after actress Nafisa Ali and Mrinalini Deshprabhu – to join the party in a day as it looks to gain ground in the coastal state ahead of the assembly elections in 2022. welcomed into the party by West Bengal Chief Minister and party chief Mamata Banerjee.

“Now I have retired from tennis. I want to serve the people through the vehicle of politics…..to make a difference to the country. Didi (Mamata Banerjee) is a true champion,” Mr Paes, 48, said.

Earlier Bollywood actress Nafisa Ali and Mrinalini Deshprabhu joined the Trinamool Congress in presence of Ms Banerjee.

The Trinamool Congress, which is trying to project itself as a strong contender against the BJP in the state, has planned a number of engagements for Ms Banerjee in Goa.

“During her visit, (Ms) Banerjee will meet intellectuals, thinkers, professionals and others,” a party official said.

Last week, Ms Banerjee had urged political parties, organizations and individuals to join her party in defeating the Goa’s ruling party BJP and its “divisive agenda”.

Goa Assembly has a strength of 40 members out of which BJP currently has 17 legislators and enjoys the support of legislators from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and three independents. GFP and MGP each have three MLAs.

Congress, on the other hand, has 15 MLAs in the house.

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