Barely six months ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections, the Mamata Banerjee government has decided to set up two separate boards for the welfare of the Namasudras and Matuas, traditional vote banks of the Trinamool Congress in Bengal.
The state Cabinet headed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee has approved the proposal of formation of West Bengal Namasudra Welfare Board and West Bengal Matua Welfare Board on Monday in a meeting held at the state secretariat.
The minister of state for health, Mrs Chandrima Bhattacharya, told reporters after the meeting: “The two boards will look after the issues relating to the socio-economic development of the two communities. The names of the two chairmen and other members of the two boards will be announced later.”
Miss Banerjee, while holding an administrative meeting in Cooch Behar last week, had hinted about the formation of the board for the Namasudras after representatives of the backward community in the district urged her to form such a body.
Mr Mukul Bairagya, working president of the All India Namasudra Bikash Parishad, had already drawn the attention of the chief minister in Cooch Behar claiming that there are around 2.87 crore Namasudras in Bengal who desperately need socio-economic development.
In Bengal, more than 90 per cent of Namasudras are Matuas who are traditional vote banks of the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.
In Assam, Trinamool Congress may also be able to take on the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls in the state if the former meets the demands of the Namasudras, some political analysts felt. The formation of welfare board for the Namasudras may be a political game plan of Trinamool, particularly against the backdrop of the mass killing in Tinsukia district in Assam.