Mamata Banerjee, the CM of West Bengal and matriarch of TMC, is set to hold a rally on December 9, at a very unusual place, Thakurnagar in Nadia district, a stronghold of the Matua community. TMC has taken the Matua community votes for granted and top leaders like Mamata Banerjee rarely campaigned in the Matua strongholds.
However, the Matua community voted for BJP in the 2019 general election in large numbers and party candidate Shantanu Thakur emerged victorious from Bangaon Lok Sabha constituency, a stronghold of the community. The reason behind the support of the Matua community to BJP was the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Majority of people from Matua community, who are categorized as Namasudras (Scheduled Castes) trace their ancestry to East Bengal, and therefore, CAA issue is very close to their heart.
Faced with discrimination from East Bengal from the Muslim majority, the Matua community migrated to West Bengal but the ‘secular’ communist government discriminated against them in the matter of citizenship as well as government jobs. The community has always voted against Communist parties, first to Congress and then to TMC. However, as Mamata Banerjee opposed the CAA, they moved towards BJP.
Now Mamata Banerjee is trying to placate them through “patta land” but CAA is closer to the heart of the community than land, and Banerjee is not ready to support the Citizenship bill because she has to protect her Muslim community votes. “We’ll see to the patta issue later but Mamata Banerjee should first clarify if she supports CAA or not. She’s treating Matuas as beggars. We’re not begging. We have one small demand: CAA,” said Shantanu Thakur, joint president of All India Matua Mahasangha.
“Even I want the development of Matuas. But I don’t support this political game ahead of elections. Time will tell how much Matuas will be benefitted. Mamata Banerjee has made the latest decision only keeping in mind the political equations,” the Bangaon lawmaker added.
The politics of West Bengal has always been dominated by Bhadralok Community, which constitutes three upper castes- Brahmin, Baidya, and Kayastha. These castes account for just 20 per cent of the state’s total population. But, all the CMs of the state– whether of CPM, Congress, or TMC– have been from the Bhadralok community. OBCs, SCs, and STs never had a say in the politics of Bengal. And this was because the Communist Party never recognized the role of caste in social upliftment.
Mamata Banerjee, the CM of the state for the last 9 years, ran the government just like the Communists. The only difference was that she carried out even a greater degree of Muslim appeasement. The state has 17 per cent quota for OBCs, 10 per cent of which is reserved for Muslims. Hindu OBCs constitute more than half of the total OBC population but their quota share is less than that of the Muslims. Apart from this, the state has 22 per cent quota for SCs and 6 per cent for STs in the state government jobs and the state-supported educational institutions.
Therefore, BJP is targeting the Hindu OBC, SC, and ST votes to come to power in the state. Since the early 2010s, RSS has been tirelessly working in the state, especially in the OBC and ST dominated areas. Dilip Ghosh, the current President of West Bengal BJP, who was appointed in 2015, comes from Sadgop caste and is from Jungle Mahal region-one of the backward regions of the state- of West Bengal.
Presumably, in 2021 assembly elections, the people from the non-Bhadralok community are going to reclaim their rightful place in West Bengal’s politics and this will change the image of the state forever. The left-front and the TMC have destroyed the economy of the state, therefore, a regime change is necessary to put the state back on the path of growth. Now, only a regime change can bring back the golden days of ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’.