West Bengal’s Matua votes and its connection with PM Narendra Modi’s Orakandi visit in Bangladesh

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Updated: March 30, 2021 5:20 PM

West Bengal elections are being held in eight phases starting today. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

West Bengal PM Modi Bangladesh Matua votesPrime Minister Narendra Modi today offered prayers in a temple in Gopalganj's Orakandi area in Bangladesh.

West Bengal is voting today in the first phase of eight-phase elections in the state. Political parties in the state have been trying to woo the voters of every caste especially that of STs, SC, and OBCs. Both the TMC and the BJP have promised OBC reservation for Telis and Mahisyas communities. Amid all this hullabaloo, the Matua community is at the centre of this vote bank politics. Matua, an SC community with a population of around 3 crores spread across the districts like North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Nadia. The community plays a key role in deciding the winning candidates in around 50-70 assembly constituencies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today offered prayers to Goddess Kali at the ancient Jashoreshwari Kali Temple and another temple in Gopalganj’s Orakandi area in Bangladesh. Orakandi region is the abode of hundreds of people belonging to the Hindu Matua community, a large number of whom are residents of West Bengal. Modi is also meeting representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri Sri Harichand Thakur disseminated his pious message. PM Modi will interact with a delegation of 300 Matua community members after offering ‘puja’ at Harichand-Gurichand Temple.

PM Modi’s meeting with the Matua community in Bangladesh holds political significance given the assembly elections in West Bengal. Modi’s visit to the Orakandi temple will be closely watched by lakhs of Matua voters on the Indian side of the border.

If reports are to be believed, the BJP won four of the 10 scheduled caste seats in the 2019 General Elections, by capturing the Matua community votes on the back of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). One of the leaders belonging to the Matua community, Shantanu Thakur won on the BJP ticket from the Bongaon seat in 2019, defeating Mamata Bala. Shantanu Thakur is accompanying PM Modi during his Orakandi visit and has expressed his pleasure over PM Modi’s visit to the area. This time, Shantanu Thakur’s brother Subrata Thakur is contesting from Gaighata on the BJP ticket.

The BJP is further looking to strengthen its base that helped it immensely in the 2019 polls.

West Bengal elections are being held in eight phases starting today. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

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