Kolkata: A day before Union Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to the Matua belt, flex was put up at Thakurnagar showing developmental works done by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the Matua community.
West Bengal politics got heated up ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government had announced that they will implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to curb the alleged ‘infiltrators’ in the state. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, for a long time, has been vocal stating that the Matuas are Indians and also that CAA is not needed to give them citizenship.
Thakurnagar, in North 24 Parganas, is a border region between India and Bangladesh that also houses over three crores Matuas, who are said to be one of the deciding electorates in West Bengal.
It is pertinent to mention that the Matuas are said to be very close to TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee and a major political force behind bringing TMC to power back in 2011. They had shown their discontent towards the chief minister and in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, these refugees, particularly the ‘Matuas’ helped the BJP secure nine to 10 seats out of the 18 constituencies that the saffron camp won.
Notably, BJP MP of Bongaon, Shantanu Thakur, has also been vocal against the central government for the delay in implementing the CAA to give the Matuas their citizenships.
The Union Home Minister, who had visited West Bengal last month, was also scheduled to hold a rally in Thakurnagar but the venue was later changed.
BJP sources earlier also confirmed that the BJP leaders were ‘not confident’ for which the venue of the Home Minister was changed.
Now, in the run-up to the assembly polls, scheduled in a couple of months, the BJP leaders are leaving no stones unturned to woo the Matua community.
Meanwhile, when the World Bank and UNICEF had praised Mamata Banerjee’s government for her public outreach program ‘Duare Sarkar’ (Government at doorstep) and ‘Swasthya Saathi’ (Health scheme), even the TMC has highlighted the works done by Mamata Banerjee and put flex all over Thakurnagar to remind a large number of voters about the benefits that the TMC government has provided.
According to poll analysts, there are possibilities that the Matuas' discontent for not implementing the CAA will grow quiet after Shah’s visit to Thakurnagar.
“The Matuas have directly shown discontent towards the TMC. Only permanent citizenship can calm them. Shah’s visit to Thakurnagar is a really important move for the BJP,” mentioned poll analysts.
Shah, who will come to Kolkata on Friday night, is also slated to visit the Mayapur Iskcon temple on Saturday morning before holding the rally at Thakurnagar.
Several leaders from the ruling Trinamool Congress -- namely Rajib Banerjee, Howrah former Mayor Rathin Chakraborty, Baishali Dalmiya and Prabir Ghosh are scheduled to join the BJP at Shah’s rally in Dumurjola on January 31.