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West Bengal elections: BJP, Trinamool eye SC/ST votes

While Mamata Banerjee has announced sops, Amit Shah is set to meet Adivasi and Matua representatives

Eastern Times , Kolkata: In its bid to grab power in the 2019 West Bengal assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is going all out to woo the Matua-Adivasi-SC/ST vote bank.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be reaching West Bengal today. He will attend an organisational meeting in Adivasi-dominated Bankura. On Friday he’ll travel to Matua-majority Gouranganagar.

However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has shot off the blocks early. Reminding the people of her government’s developmental schemes for the state’s backward classes, Mamata announced the setting up more development boards for various sections of the backward communities.

The saffron camp is desperate to come to power in Bengal. They hope to grab a large chunk of the Adivasi-SC/ST-Matua vote. And that’s why Bankura has been chosen as the venue for the organisational meeting.

On Thursday Amit Shah will pay homage to Birsa Munda and then proceed to Chaturdahi, an Adivasi village to have lunch with an Adivasi family.

On Friday Shah will visit Gouranganagar in North 24 Parganas. There he will meet representatives of the Matua community and have lunch with them.

That BJP has been successful in wooing the Adivasi-Matua vote bank is clear from the last Lok Sabha elections. The party won the Adivasi-dominated Jhargram and Matua-dominated Bongaon Lok Sabha seats.

Assembly polls are round the corner. And Trinamool Congress is getting ready to defend its bastion. On Wednesday CM Mamata Banerjee had a meeting with representatives of Matua, Bagdi, Bauri and other backward communities at Nabanna, the state secretariat.

In the meeting Mamata Banerjee said: “I was the first one to visit a Matua household. I was always in touch with Boroma. Earlier nobody cared for them. A railway station and a college have already been built. Work on a university is in progress. A development board for Matuas is being set up. Budget has been sanctioned. Choosing the board members is taking a bit of time. We are trying to develop Thakurnagar as a tourist destination.”

Mamata also announced a grant of Rs 10 crore to the Matua development board. She also announced a grant of Rs 5 crore to the Namashudra development board. She said boards to develop the cultures of Bauri-Duley and Bagdi-Majhi will also be set up.

With an eye on the Adivasi vote, Mamata Banerjee said the state has enacted legislation that would safeguard Adivasi land. The chief minister also distributed land patta to refugee families. In this phase 25,000 refugee families will get the pattas followed by 25,000 more.

The process of getting caste certificates has been simplified, the chief minister said. Anybody showing a family member’s certificate will be eligible for a caste certificate. Certificates will be delivered within four weeks of applying.

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