West Bengal election and Narendra Modi’s visit to Orakandi, Matua Man Joyei Nazar?

#Kolkata : Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Dhaka on a two-day visit on Friday showing a new direction in India-Bangladesh relations. He attended the ‘Mujib Chirantan’ program on the occasion of the 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh. The prime minister has a packed program on Saturday too. From Dhaka, the Prime Minister went to Shaktipetha Jashoreswari Kali Mandir. From there reach Matua Dham Darshan at Orakandi. Political analysts consider Modi’s visit to Bangladesh on the eve of assembly elections in five states and the “Matua Dham” philosophy that looms large in the agenda of that visit to be of utmost significance. Narendra Modi’s visit to the main pilgrimage site of the Matuas is believed to be a part of an attempt to woo the Matuas. But who is this Matua? Why has winning their hearts suddenly become so important? Let’s take a look at the answers to those questions.

Who is this Matua community? How did Orakandi become their pilgrimage site?

The Matua sect belongs to the Namashudra group which is considered as the lower caste of Hindus. Matuas are a special sect of Sanatan Hindu community, who consider Harichand Tagore as their god. Harichand Tagore was born about 210 years ago in Orakandi, Gopalganj, who started this Matua sect. Later, through his son Guru Chand Tagore, the Matua doctrine spread in different directions. The residence of Harichand Tagore and Guruchand Tagore in Orakandi and the surrounding area is considered a sacred place by the Matuas. The main temple of the Matuas is also here. At that time, it is known that Harichand Tagore and Guruchand Tagore did a great movement for the rights and development of the neglected and backward people.

Matua Yoga in neighboring countries including India:

Although the Matua movement was mainly concentrated in Orakandi, a large section of Matuas migrated to India at various times after the independence of India and the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. They established their religious center in Thakurnagar of North Twenty Four Parganas. Subrata Thakur, chairman of the Upazila Parishad of Matua in Bangladesh, said that one of his father’s brothers moved to West Bengal after the independence of India in 1947, and his descendants are currently playing an active role in politics as leaders of the Matua community in West Bengal.

Matua polls in West Bengal elections, what the statistics say:

In political West Bengal, Matuara is an important determinant for the 8-phase assembly elections for the BJP. The total number of Matua voters in 84 out of 294 assembly constituencies is more than 17 lakh. The BJP’s claim to capture a large number of seats in the assembly polls in West Bengal will depend a lot on these matuas. In particular, the votes of these Matuas will affect 32-33 constituencies of the total 50 assembly constituencies in Nadia and North 24 Parganas. Just 24 hours before the start of polling in West Bengal, Modi met with the family of the founder of Matua, Harichand Thakur, according to political analysts, who is campaigning for the West Bengal vote.

Indian political analysts say the Matua community and its religious leaders have been active in politics since independence. At one time in West Bengal most of the votes of these Matuas went to mainly left-wing parties like the Left Front or the Trinamool Congress. The Matua Mahasangh split ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Then the equation changes. At that time a section of the Matua Mahasangh sided with the Trinamool Congress. However, Shantanu Thakur, the head of another section of them, won on the BJP ticket and became a Member of Parliament. Political analysts believe that a large part of the Matuas are disappointed because the Citizenship Amendment Act was not implemented as promised by the BJP. So according to them, it is very important for BJP to win the hearts of Matua voters before the polls.

Published by:Sanjukta Sarkar

First published:

Tags: Bangladesh, Bengal Election 2021, Narendra Modi

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