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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

Trinamul Congress fields Matua 'insider' for bypoll to Bagda Assembly seat

Trinamul insiders said the nomination of Madhuparna Thakur, who is the daughter of the TMC’s Rajya Sabha member Mamatabala Thakur, in Bagda is the culmination of a demand to field a 'Matua insider', instead of a 'Matua outsider' like Das

Subhasish Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 15.06.24, 07:44 AM
TMC’s Bagda candidate Madhuparna Thakur during a demonstration at Thakurnagar in North 24-Parganas in May.

TMC’s Bagda candidate Madhuparna Thakur during a demonstration at Thakurnagar in North 24-Parganas in May. Subhasish Chaudhuri

The Trinamool Congress has fielded a member of the Harichand-Guruchand family for the bypoll to the Matua-dominated Bagda Assembly seat which was won by the BJP’s Biswajit Das in 2021.

The seat became vacant after Das had resigned. He defected to Trinamool and contested unsuccessfully from the Matua-dominated Bongaon Lok Sabha seat. BJP leader and junior Union minister Shantanu Thakur defeated Das.

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Trinamool insiders said the nomination of Madhuparna Thakur, who is the daughter of the TMC’s Rajya Sabha member Mamatabala Thakur, in Bagda is the culmination of a demand to field a “Matua insider”, instead of a “Matua outsider” like Das.

“Although Das’s name was initially doing the rounds for the Bagda seat, his defeat in the Lok Sabha polls tilted the balance against him. This prompted party supremo Mamata Banerjee to repose faith in a member of the Harichand-Guruchand family for the Bagda bypoll,” a senior Trinamool leader said on the condition of anonymity.

The leader added that the decision to field Madhuparna was a recognition of the demand of the pro-Trinamool faction in the All India Matua Mahasangha to nominate a “community insider” from the Bagda (SC) seat. The TMC leader said the party’s top brass had to drop its initial decision to field Das in the bypoll following growing opposition against the move.

He added that resistance against the possible nomination of Das by a section of the leadership in the Bongaon organisational district of Trinamool and the pro-Trinamool faction of the All India Matua Mahasangha compelled the party to have a change of mind.

Harichand and Guruchand Thakur are founders of an anti-caste Matua dharma and their holy abode is based at Thakurnagar in North 24-Parganas. The religious community of the Matuas consists of lower caste Hindus like Namashudra and a large number of them have their roots in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Early this week, a section of Trinamool leaders held a meeting in Bagda and adopted a resolution to nominate a Matua insider from Bgda. The demand was subsequently conveyed to Mamata.

“Around 90 per cent of the electorate in Bagda are Matuas. Since Das was defeated in the Lok Sabha polls, we demanded that the party leave the battle here to a member of our community. We are thankful that Didi has agreed to the proposal,” a leader of the pro-Trinamool faction of the All India Matua Mahasangha said.

Das also got a sense of the mood among the Matuas and had conveyed to the leadership about his “lack of interest” in the bypoll contest. “I have a greater role to play in the organisation. So, I categorically informed the party about my decision not to fight the bypoll,” Das said.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Madhuparna said: “It is a big challenge for me. I am thankful to CM madam and Abhishek (Banerjee) da for their support and reposing faith in me. I will try my best to work for the community.”

A newcomer to politics, Madhuparna, a resident of Thakurnagar, is a first-year postgraduate student at the West Bengal State University in Barasat. The young Matua face has been assigned a gigantic task to retrieve the Bagda Assembly segment from the BJP. In the just concluded Lok Sabha election, Trinamool candidate Biswajit Das trailed in the Bagda segment by around 20,000 votes.

For the three other seats where bypolls will be held, Trinamool has nominated Krishna Kalyani from Raiganj, Mukutmani Adhikari for Ranaghat-Dakshin and Supti Pandey from Maniktala.

BJP turncoats Kalyani and Mukutmani have been re-nominated by the TMC even though the two unsuccessfully fought the Lok Sabha elections from Raiganj and Ranaghat (SC) constituencies, respectively.

Kalyani lost to the BJP candidate by a margin of over 68,000 votes, whereas Mukutmani lost by about 1.8 lakh votes. Nevertheless, their nomination has surprised a major section of the ruling party activists, who termed the renomination as a “consolation” prize.

Krishna Kalyani said: “I thank the chief minister for having faith in me. I had carried out development work as an MLA for three years and intend to take up some more. I am confident of the results as the political perspectives are different in Parliament and Assembly elections.”

The Left Front on Friday has announced its candidates for three bypoll seats. While the CPM has fielded Arindam Biswas and Rajib Majumdar for the Ranaghat Dakshin and Maniktala seats, respectively, the Forward Bloc has nominated Gouraditya Biswas for the Bagda bypoll.

Additional reporting by Koushik Sen

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