How the BJP conquered the programmed castes of Bengal
Ram to Hanuman
The founding of the Hanuman temples, especially in areas dominated by the SC and ST communities, has been an integral part of the agenda of Sangh Parivar, the constellation of organizations under the RSS, the parent organization of BJP. The trend, according to a senior RSS official in South Bengal, began in 2017, when the Sangh spoke out about the rise of “jihadist” influence.
“The aim has been to create a religious and devotional atmosphere in the state. In the areas dominated by the backward classes, we tried to unite all the Hindu castes against the appeasement policy, ”said an RSS organizer in Birbhum, who did not want to be named because he did not. was not allowed to speak to the media. .
“Popularizing Hanuman is part of the plan to instill Ram bhakti among the local population ”, explained the leader.
Shibaji Prasad Mandal, the RSS chief in Birbhum, could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.
“The BJP has grown in our region because most of those who oppose the TMC rule, especially those who are wronged by the upper hand of local TMC leaders, took the BJP flag after the elections in the Assembly revealed that the left no longer had any chance of winning. Religious issues started to enter the discourse after 2017-2018, ”said Chandranath Bauri, a resident of Radhanagar village in Bishnupur block of Bankura district.
In Radhanagar, was the local BJP’s way of uniting the Hindus. Here, the inhabitants of the SC and ST communities represent 46.35 and 4.55% of the population respectively, according to the 2011 census.
In the Lok Sabha election, Radhanagar and Joykrishnapur voted in favor of the BJP, according to locals.
When asked if they would have voted for Mamata if she had retained local TMC leaders but continued with her so-called Muslim appeasement, residents of Joykrishnapur were divided. When asked if they would have voted for her if there had been no Muslim membership but the local TMC leaders functioned similarly, the answer was a unanimous ‘no’.
One of the issues raised by Hindu supremacists that seems to have struck a chord with the inhabitants of these villages is the decision of the government of Bengal to pay a monthly allowance to imams and muezzins. Even though the payment did not come from government funds but from the Wakf board of directors, Mamata had repeatedly sought credit in 2012-13.
Now that seems to be working against her, even though she announced a few months ago – from the Treasury no less.
“Why is she giving allowances to the Brahmins now, so many years after the Muslims got her?” asked Jayanta Santra in Joykrishnapur village in Bishnupur where over 46% of the population is SC and 2.44% is ST, according to the 2011 census.
Most of these villages have a negligible or non-existent Muslim population.
However, the scene is a little different in parts of the South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts, where Muslims and Dalits live side by side and together make up 70-80% of the population.
In the constituency of Canning West in South 24-Parganas, for example, the listed castes make up about 47 percent of the population and Muslims 37 percent. In Magrahat East, in the same district, CS represent 34.6% and Muslims more than 50% of the population.
Here, the BJP has grown since the election of the panchayat and has recently made inroads among the local people of SC. According to local residents, Hindus, mostly Dalits, were initially reluctant to respond to the BJP campaign as they believed that getting involved in communal politics would not be the right thing given that they lived nearby. Muslims.
In the Assembly election, the TMC beat the CPIM by a margin of 9,500 votes. In Lok Sabha’s election, the TMC beat the BJP, garnering nearly 53 percent of the votes cast. In Canning West, the TMC won the Assembly election by 18,726 votes against Congress and Lok Sabha’s election against the BJP, obtaining 51.27% of the vote.
Explaining the changing trend of polls in Magrahat West, Shankarlal Mandal, a small trader in the Patikhali region, said: “The increase in TMC vote share reflects the transfer of traditional Muslim voices from left-wing parties. to the TMC, while the rise of the BJP can be explained by the transfer of Dalit votes from the left and from the TMC to the BJP. “
Sanatan Sarkar, a resident where Muslims make up 57.66% of the population and Dalits 31.8%, had another anecdote to tell. Part of the Magrahat West constituency, Usthi has a population of over 6,000, according to the 2011 census. According to Sarkar, the propaganda began in 2018 that Muslim-dominated localities are best served by panchayats and programs. government than Dalit-dominated areas.
“In rural areas, people often believe in word of mouth more than having it verified. As a result, a perception emerged that Hindus, mostly Dalits, were deprived while Muslims were given priority government projects, ”said Sarkar, a plumber.
In South 24 Parganas, Muslims make up 35.57% of the population and Dalits 30.2%. In North 24 Parganas, Muslims represent 25.82% and Dalits 21.7%.
The equations are however different in North 24 Parganas and Nadia. There, the majority of the SC population is made up of refugees from Bangladesh, especially those belonging to the Matua-Namasudra communities. Members of these communities have often expressed a sense of distaste for Muslims because many of them, or their ancestors, fled former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, after facing atrocities from their Muslim neighbors.
The BJP’s campaign to accuse Mamata of Muslim appeasement struck a chord with some of them, and the Citizenship Amendment Act also found support from many of them. In Lok Sabha’s election, the Matua-Namasudras voted overwhelmingly in favor of the BJP, helping the party to win the seats of Bongaon and Ranaghat.
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