BJP, TMC Out To Woo ‘Decisive’ Matua Community

Kolkata: A day before Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the Matua belt in West Bengal, flexes were put up at Thakurnagar displaying the developmental work done by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the Matua community.

West Bengal politics had got heated up once the BJP-led Central government announced that CAA will be implemented to curb the alleged ‘infiltrators’ in the state. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has for long been vocal about her stand that Matuas are Indians and CAA is not needed to give them citizenship.

Thakurnagar, in North 24 Parganas, is close to the Bangladesh border and home to over 3 crore Matuas, who are considered to be a decisive section among the state’s electorate.

It is widely believed that Matuas were very close to Mamata and played a key role in bringing TMC to power in 2011. But they made their discontent towards the chief minister clear in recent years, and it was the refugees — particularly the Matuas – who helped the BJP bag at least 9 seats of the 18 they won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Notably, Shantanu Thakur, the BJP MP from Bongaon, has been vocal against the Central government for the delay in implementing CAA to give Matuas citizenship.

Union Home Minister Shah was scheduled to hold a rally in Thakurnagar during his visit to West Bengal last month, but the venue was changed as local leaders were not confident, as per BJP sources.

Now, with about three months to go for Assembly polls, BJP leaders are leaving no stones unturned to woo the Matua community.

The TMC recently received a boost after the World Bank and UNICEF praised the Mamata government’s public outreach programmes ‘Duare Sarkar’ (Government at doorstep) and ‘Swasthya Saathi’ (health scheme).

The TMC has highlighted these programmes and put flexes all over Thakurnagar to remind the voters of the benefit they are getting from TMC government.

Poll analysts feel Shah’s visit to Thakurnagar could be a masterstroke.

“The Matuas have shown discontent towards the TMC. Only permanent citizenship can calm them. Shah’s visit to Thakurnagar is a really important move for the BJP,” observed poll analysts.

Shah will arrive in Kolkata on Friday night and visit Mayapur Iskcon temple on Saturday morning before attending the Thakurnagar rally.

On January 31, Shah will address a rally in Dumurjola at Howrah, where several Trinamool Congress leaders like Rajib Banerjee, former Howrah Mayor Rathin Chakraborty, Baishali Dalmiya and Prabir Ghosh are expected to join the BJP fold.

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