With West Bengal Legislative assembly elections right around the corner, contesting political parties are battling out to emerge victorious. The unique geography of West Bengal houses a varied range of voters. Focusing on the Nadia district, an opinion poll was executed by a team of expert pollsters at EtG Research. EtG opinion poll suggests that BJP is set to secure a narrow majority over AITC.
Of the 17 Assembly constituencies, five seats are reserved for SC’s. The exit of leaders from AITC to BJP, and internal turmoil within a party might be a reason for concern for AITC in 11 Assembly constituencies of the district. The only Ace on hand which might benefit AITC is Mamata Banerjee’s ability to secure votes of the Muslim and Matua (SC) community. Our opinion-based survey indicates that in Assembly constituencies that hold a Muslim majority, AITC has the lead. Yet, the SC’s have the majority in most of the assembly constituencies, the pre-poll decision of the community is still unclear as it depends on the Matuas who form a considerable population.
The Muslims in West Bengal have stood behind the Left Front government from 1977 to 2011 but had started leaning towards Trinamool Congress after the 2006 Sachar Committee report which had brought light to their pathetic condition in the state. Nadia is one of the districts which has been a strong hold of the left and the Congress for a long time due to the Muslim dominated population. The district too has swayed in favour of AITC in recent times and owes their allegiance to AITC mostly. Reviews of the past assembly election results show that the Muslims contributed majorly to the Left Front victory in 2006 and later to the AITC win in 2011 and 2016.
Recently, the SCs, STs and the general caste Hindus who form a considerable portion of the district have voted for BJP in the 2016 general elections. BJP’s appearance into the political scene in Nadia can be allied to the fact that the non-Muslims found BJP as the political platform and an organisation which reflected their lost identities and vulnerabilities. Bordering Bangladesh in the east, Nadia is situated in between a complex plethora of varying political identities.
The outcome of 2021 Assembly elections banks on the Matua community too, the descendants of Harichand Thakur who founded the Matua sect and have a sizable presence in the district. The Scheduled Tribes constitute the second-largest share of the population in Bengal and the Matua community has a stronghold on more than 70 assembly seats in Nadia and North and South 24 Parganas districts. The Matua community has played an important role in ousting the Left from power and forming Mamata Banerjee's government, but now the BJP is helping it. The people of the Matua community have come from Bangladesh and settled in Bengal. They have voting rights and have been demanding citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act, i.e., CAA. In 2019, BJP was believed to have won a significant number of seats in Nadia based on this community's votes. While Mamata Banerjee had granted land rights to 25,000 refugee families in the last few days because of assembly election, she had also allocated Rs 10 crore and Rs 5 crore for the Matua Development Board and Namasudra Development Board.
Due to the Matua sect's political status, its influence continued to grow stronger in the atmosphere of Nadia district and the border areas of Bangladesh. In 2010, Mata Binapani Devi's proximity to Mamata Banerjee grew and she was later declared as the patron of the Matua sect. This was formally considered to be Mamata Banerjee's political support.
Due to a Muslim-dominated presence in the district, Owaisi has his eyes set on it, as he has been holding meetings and the membership has crossed 2-lakh-mark in the state.
Through the opinion poll we derived that Muslims are Strongly inclined towards AITC and a slight inclination towards Mahajot in Chapra, Tehatta, Palashipara, Nakashipara. SC’s are strongly inclined towards BJP in most of the ACs.
While General Hindus are split between AITC and BJP. OBC’s are inclined to AITC mostly but in Kalyani, there is a split between left and BJP. The Christians are towards the AITC and the SC’s (Santhal) are strongly inclined towards AITC in some AC’s and in others, BJP.
[Also Read: EtG Opinion Poll in West Bengal Alipurduar Dist]