Trinamool Congress changes strategy to secure Kurmi community's votebank in West Bengal

In an attempt to secure Mahatos vote-bank, the ruling party is likely to portray Chhatradhar Mahato, a popular face of Maoist-backed Lalgarh movement in Jungalmahal.

Published: 14th February 2020 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2020 09:44 AM   |  A+A-

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee plays a musical instrument as she leads a rally to protest against CAA, NRC and NPR at Durgapur

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee plays a musical instrument as she leads a rally to protest against CAA, NRC and NPR at Durgapur. (File photo| PTI)

Express News Service

KOLKATA: The political landscape in Bengal’s Jungalmahal, where Kurmis and tribals form a majority, looks for a change triggering embarrassment for the BJP,  which made deep inroads in the region by bagging all four Lok Sabha seats, with the influence of assembly elections results in neighbouring Jharkhand state.

Aiming Kurmi community, which comprises Mahatos and forms more than 35 per cent of total electorate, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is expecting a shift in the community’s political allegiance from the BJP. In an attempt to secure Mahatos vote-bank, the ruling party is likely to portray Chhatradhar Mahato, a popular face of Maoist-backed Lalgarh movement in Jungalmahal.

“The region witnessed an impact of election results in 2014 in Jharkhand in the panchayat polls in 2018. The BJP made deep inroads in the rural polls in Trinamool’s bastion but since it failed to retain the state, it will have an impact in Jungalmahal region. The Mahatos and tribals, who had voted for the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, are expected to shift their political allegiance and we will have to swing their mood in our favour before 2021 Assembly elections,’’ said a senior Trinamool leader.

The All Jharkhand Student Union (AJSU), a political outfit comprising supporters of Mahato community, has a significant influence over the kurmis in Jhargram, Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts. “The AJSU broke the alliance with the saffron camp in Jharkhand polls. It is a good sign for us. The change in AJSU’s political stance will have an impact in Bengal’s backward region and a major chunk of Mahato voters is expected to shift their loyalty from BJP to Trinamool Congress,” said the leader.

The Bengal BJP, however, claimed they are not bothered about Jharkhand election results and break up with the AJSU. "Though we and AJSU parted ways in Jharkhand, but we maintain good relation with its president Sudesh Mahato. The Trinamool’s plan to bring Mahato votes in its favour will not work," said a state BJP leader. The political leaders, however, admitted the electoral mood in Jungalmahal is not predictable.

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