Two communities are often talked as major vote banks in an election in Bengal — Muslims and Matuas. Muslims are estimated comprise about 30 per cent of voters in Bengal while Matuas around 15 per cent.
Matuas are Hindu refugees, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been soliciting support of in Bengal against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). The TMC is equally keen at reaching out to them. As it stands today, vote bank of Matua community is a direct fight between the BJP and the TMC.
It is the Muslim vote bank that is likely to be a bigger key factor in deciding the Bengal Assembly polls. For decades, the Muslims were considered a vote bank of the Left Front, which with strong cadre base among the Hindus ruled Bengal for 34 consecutive years. The Congress could not break the Left-loyalty of the Muslim vote bank despite a fostering different a pro-Muslim image in rest of the country.
The break came when the TMC mobilised farmers, workers and poor Muslims during Singur and Nandigram agitations. The Sachar Commission report that came in 2010 helped Mamata Banerjee guide the switch of loyalties from the Left to the TMC as panel found Muslims of Bengal were in “worse” condition on economic and social parameters.
News Source: India Today