As the Union Home Minister Amit Shah landed in Kolkata on Wednesday to begin his two-day campaigning in the state, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took a dig at him. Amit Shah, during his stay, is scheduled to have lunch with a Matua Dalit family near Kolkata on Friday.
Mamata said that she used to look after the head of the Matua community earlier and now a new crop of people is trying to muddle the waters.
“For the last 20-25 years, till the time Boroma [elder mother of Matua community] was alive, I used to take care of her. I used to admit her to the hospital. I was the first to visit the Matuas and started developing the area. Some people are new and trying to parachute. They will not know…” said Banerjee.
With a presence across at least 70 out of 294 assembly seats in the state, the Matua community is a deciding factor in five seats. They threw their weight behind the BJP in the 2019 elections. BJP’s Shantanu Thakur, a Matua, defeated his aunt, ruling Trinamool Congress’s Mamata Bala Thakur, from Bongaon.
The All India Matua Mahasangha hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Thakurnagar in North 24-Parganas district before the 2019 national polls.
Shah also tweeted his itinerary to Bengal on Wednesday. “I will be reaching West Bengal today for a two-day visit. I am eager to interact with BJP Bharatiya Janata Party karyakartas [workers], the people of Bengal, media persons, and people from various communities.”
The BJP is upbeat with their gains in the 2019 election where they won 18 out of the state’s 42 parliamentary seats. They are now looking to replicate that in the 2021 West Bengal assembly. Amit Shah will address rallies in Bankura and Kolkata on Thursday and Friday. He will visit the Dakhsineswar Temple and meet Padma Bhushan Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty.
“He would have lunch with an Adivasi family in Bankura and a Matua family near Kolkata. He is scheduled to fly back to Delhi on Friday evening,” said a BJP leader.