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Trinamool Congress changes strategy to secure Kurmi community's votebank in West Bengal


KOLKATA: The political landscape in Bengal’s Jungalmahal, where Kurmis and tribals form a majority, looks for a change triggering embarrassment for the BJP,  which made deep inroads in the region by bagging all four Lok Sabha seats, with the influence of assembly elections results in neighboring Jharkhand state.

Aiming the Kurmi community, which comprises Mahatos and forms more than 35 percent of the total electorate, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is expecting a shift in the community’s political allegiance from the BJP. In an attempt to secure Mahatos vote-bank, the ruling party is likely to portray Chhatradhar Mahato, a popular face of Maoist-backed Lalgarh movement in Jungalmahal.

“The region witnessed an impact of election results in 2014 in Jharkhand in the panchayat polls in 2018. The BJP made deep inroads in the rural polls in Trinamool’s bastion but since it failed to retain the state, it will have an impact in the Jungalmahal region.

The Mahatos and tribals, who had voted for the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, are expected to shift their political allegiance and we will have to swing their mood in our favor before 2021 Assembly elections,’’ said a senior Trinamool leader.

The All Jharkhand Student Union (AJSU), a political outfit comprising supporters of Mahato community, has a significant influence over the kermis in Jhargram, Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts. “The AJSU broke the alliance with the saffron camp in Jharkhand polls.

It is a good sign for us. The change in AJSU’s political stance will have an impact in Bengal’s backward region and a major chunk of Mahato voters is expected to shift their loyalty from BJP to Trinamool Congress,” said the leader.

The Bengal BJP, however, claimed they are not bothered about Jharkhand election results and break up with the AJSU. "Though we and AJSU parted ways in Jharkhand, we maintain good relations with its president Sudesh Mahato.

The Trinamool’s plan to bring Mahato votes in its favor will not work," said a state BJP leader. The political leaders, however, admitted the electoral mood in Jungalmahal is not predictable.