All the parties are eyeing the Matua community in the West Bengal assembly elections. The community has influence in about seventy assembly seats in North Bengal. This is the reason that both the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP challenging it are engaged in helping this community. Citizenship is a big issue for this community at the moment. It also gained the support of this community due to the promises of the CAA of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. Mamta Banerjee has also been close to this community and she is ensuring the right to land.
Since the partition of the country, a large section of the Matua (Matrushudra) community has been struggling with the problem of citizenship. They have got the right to vote, but the issue of citizenship remains. After the partition of the country many people of this community came to India. Later, people continued to come from East Pakistan. The influence of this community is highest in North Bengal. About three crore people are connected with this community or come under its influence. In such a situation, it has been a vote bank for various political parties.
Left, Trinamool and BJP have got support:
In the past, the Left parties continued to get support and later remained close to Mamata Banerjee. The BJP started cultivating this community before the 2019 Lok Sabha. Prior to the last Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his election campaign with the blessings of Veenapani Devi (Boro Maa), the head of the Thakur family, the head of this community. This family has a great influence on the Matua community. Later, BJP gave the Lok Sabha ticket to Shantanu Thakur of the same family and he won. Prior to this, the family was a Lok Sabha member from the Trinamool Congress and the MLAs were also from the same family during the CPI-M’s tenure in the state. In 1977, the community supported the CPI (M), which ruled for a long time.
BJP made close proximity through CAA:
The BJP has brought this community closer to itself by bringing up the CAA issue. In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP promised it and later enacted a law on it. Now the people of this community are confident of citizenship. BJP leaders have also associated themselves with this community during the assembly elections and they are coming close to having dinner with them at their homes. On the other hand, Mamta Banerjee has also been close to Boro’s mother. Although Boro is no longer a mother, his family may also split into two.
Trinamool is showing fear of NRC:
Mamta Banerjee is raising the issue of NRC saying that if it is implemented then those people will have to go back to Bangladesh. However, the BJP is saying that by creating the CAA, it will give them citizenship here. Since more than 99 per cent of the people in this community come from the Hindu community, there is a lot of hope for the BJP to get support. Mamta Banerjee is also campaigning to give land rights to the Matua people to cut the issue of citizenship of the BJP.
What is matua community
The people of Matua community come from East Pakistan. The Matua sect began in 1860 in undivided Bengal. The basic spirit of Matua Mahasangh is to abolish the system of Chaturvarna (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras). Matua sect was founded by the descendants of Harichand Thakur. The Thakur family of North 24 Parganas district has a long association with politics. Harichand’s great-grandson Pramath Ranjan Thakur became a member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1962 as a Congress candidate.
How much is political dominance
In 1971, the number of people of Namasudra society was 11 percent of the total population of the state. It increased to 17 per cent in 2011
The Namasudra society has a population of 1.5 crore. Apart from Namasudra, other Dalits are also associated with the Matua sect.
According to an estimate the Matua sect has a votebank of close to 03 crores.
– Direct impact of this community on more than 50 assembly seats
Mamta has announced a development board of Rs 10 crore for the Matua community
Separate development boards of 5-5 crores were also created for Bauri and Bagdi Dalit castes.
Wooed through budget
– Mamta government has given an amount of Rs 3,000 crore for pension to the elders of scheduled castes and tribes in the budget of 2020-21
– With this, about 20 lakhs of scheduled castes and 4 lakhs of tribes will get a monthly pension of Rs 1,000.
– Announces additional package of 150 crores to create employment, create infrastructure for scheduled castes and tribes
BJP is also not behind
– Declaration of granting citizenship under CAA to the people of Tamua community
– Promise to give allowance to improve the economic condition of folk singers
28% SC / ST people are in West Bengal
30 percent Muslim population is estimated in the state
Most of the important tribes in various tribal groups of West Bengal are Bhutia tribe, Garo tribe, Lohara tribe, Mahli tribe, Muru tribe, Munda tribe, Oron tribe, Pahadia tribe, Kora tribe etc. They constitute 10% of the state’s population. Bals, Bhuia, Santhal, Oraon, Pahadia, Munas, Lefkas, Bhutia, Chero, Kharia, Garo, Magh, Mahli, Muru, Munda, Lohara and Mal Pahadia are one of the popular tribes in West Bengal.
These two issues also dominate
Outsider vs Bengali: The issue of ‘outsider vs Bengali’ has also come up prominently in the West Bengal elections. It is being associated with Bengali identity.
Political violence: Electoral violence is also a big factor this time. Both BJP and TMC are accusing each other of politics of violence
Total seats: 294 seats
For the majority: 148
How many voters: 7,32,94,980
When to vote in eight phases
Phase- Voting- How many seats
First Phase – 27 March – 30
Phase II – 1 April-30
Third Phase – 6 April-31
Fourth Phase – 10 April-44
Fifth Phase – 17 April-45
Sixth Phase – 22 April-43
Seventh Phase – 26 April-36
Eighth Phase – 29 April-35