Mamata's poll strategy: Showcase development, brand BJP as outsiders' party

Express News Service
KOLKATA: Banking on the sign of Matuas’ restlessness over the delay in rolling out of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which the BJP is trying hard to assuage, the ruling Trinamool Congress has swung into action to earn electoral dividend.

The TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday convened a meeting of 4,000 members of scheduled caste (SC), the community Matuas belong to, and scheduled tribe (ST) wings of the party. She asked the SC members to launch aggressive campaign against the BJP’s false promise of giving Matuas citizenship by implementing the contentious CAA.

The SC and ST members have been asked to showcase the BJP as a ‘party of liars’ in regions where tribal electorates are deciding factors.

Sources in the ruling party said the CM did not want to miss the opportunity to use BJP’s embarrassment triggered by the cancellation of Union Home minister Amit Shah’s much awaited Bengal visit last month.

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“Shah was scheduled to visit the Matua religious sect’s headquarters at Bongaon in north 24-Parganas and address on the issue of citizenship for the refugees migrated from Bagladesh that the BJP had promised in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Since election is approaching, Matuas wanted Shah to announce a deadline. After Shah’s Bengal visit was cancelled, Matuas are unhappy and we are trying to use their discontent in favour of us,” said a TMC leader.

Matuas are deciding factor in 36 Assembly constituencies and majority of the community voted for the BJP in last year’s general elections.   

Mamata Banerjee recently dismantled the TMC’s single cell dedicated to SC/ST/Other Backward Class (OBC) and set up separate wings to give dedicated representation to each of the communities. She also set up a dedicated development board for Matuas and granted a fund of Rs 10 crore.

State Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mullick, who has been camping in Matua belt since Shah’s visit was cancelled, said the BJP has nothing to say on Matuas’ citizenship issue as the people of the Hindu religious sect realised the promise before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was a trick to hoodwink them.

“While visiting the Matuas’ headquarters after Shah’s visit was cancelled, BJP leaders said the dais, which was set up for the Union Home minister, would not be dismantled as the central minister would visit the area soon. It was another lie. Leaving the area would not be possible for BJP leaders without facing Matuas’ agitation,” said Mullick.