Mamata Rally In Ranaghat To Win Back Matua Support

Minister Indranil Sen and MP Mahua Moitra checking preparations for the meeting in Habibpur ground on Sunday. Picture by Babu Ghosh

Ranaghat, Jan. 10: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would launch a fresh bid to win back the support of the Matuas ahead of the ensuing assembly poll with a rally in Nadia’s Ranaghat on Monday morning.

She will address party supporters in Habibpur Chhatimtala ground under Ranaghat Lok sabha constituency, which is a stronghold of the Matua community. It will be her second visit to Ranaghat since February 3 last year when she addressed a public meeting against the Citizenship Act.

The Monday’s rally comes at a time when the BJP has begun wooing the community again targeting the assembly poll with its senior leaders announced about implementation of the citizenship act most likely by February.

Even though Mamata has reiterated in her attempt to build confidence among the community saying that the Matuas are Indian citizens and nothing can rob their identity, a large section of it, nevertheless, remained unconvinced and leaned towards BJP for its citizenship offer.

The division in Matua support base became a costly affair for Trinamul as the party suffered a major setback in the 2019 general election in Ranaghat constituency losing the seat which is considered as a stronghold of the community….

Matuas are a group of Hindu refugees from Bangladesh who dominate the electorate in a major part of Nadia and North 24 Parganas and a few districts in North Bengal as well. The BJP is banking heavily on the Matua vote bank in the ensuing assembly poll since its support helped them to win Ranaghat and Bongaon Lok Sabha seats. Trinamul has been trying to win back the Matuas who supported the party till 2019.

Trinamul insiders claimed that on Monday she would again raise her voice against Narendra Modi Government’s citizenship thrusts, while at the same she would try best to rejuvenate the organization bringing the Matuas together under the party’s umbrella. The tasks, however, appear to be quite tough due to the party’s weak organisation ripped with internal bickering.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha poll except in one (Nabadwip) Trinamul had trailed in all the seven assembly segments to BJP by a huge margin. All these six assembly segments are strongholds of Matua community members with around 35% vote bank.

The Nadia Trinamul leadership has chalked out a plan to bring massive Matua crowds to the Habibpur ground. All the block presidents and booth level committee of the party have been directed to mobilise Matua members in large numbers.

“We are hopeful that there will be a huge turnout of the Matua community people. The Matuas have realised that the BJP has been playing with them for poll benefit only. This assembly poll will prove that they are no more with BJP”, said Trinamul Nadia’s spokesperson Banikumar Roy.

“Citizenship is a big issue for the Matuas. In the Lok Sabha poll BJP lured them with citizenship offers. A section of the Matuas leaned towards Modi’s party for it, which led to our defeat. But, we have been working on the issue trying to retain the support of the Matuas explaining the provisions of the Citizenship Acts which in reality will not only render them outsider rather at the same time would create major harassment seeking old documents as proof”, added Roy.

“Since the May 2019 when the results of Lok Sabha poll were announced, the BJP led government did nothing in regard to the Citizenship Act. It has only before the assembly poll has been deliberately trying to revive the issue announcing its implementation without a specific timeline. But Mamata Banerjee would punch holes in their fake assurance of citizenship to the Matuas. We are hopeful that Matuas would again repose faith in Trinamul forgetting the misunderstanding created due to BJP’s propaganda,” Banikumar Roy told The NfN

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