With assembly elections in West Bengal only few months away, Mamata Banerjee seems to have shifted all her attention on winning the confidence of state’s Hindu voters, a demographic on which the BJP has its sight set.
Earlier in the week, Mamata Banerjee announced a monthly honorarium of Rs 1,000 for the poor Hindu priests in the state. Banerjee said that many priests in the state are above 60 years of age and find it difficult to meet their expenses and so to provide them some relief, this new scheme is being initiated.
Apart from the honorarium, Banerjee also promised that special accommodation would be made for poor priests in the state government run housing scheme, ‘Bangla’r awas yojana.” Banerjee also announced that she has given a land for only Rs 1 for making a hermitage to an Hindu organization named ‘Sanatana Dharma,’ which first brought the plight of the priests to her notice.
However not only the Brahmin priests, but even lower stratas of the Hindu society are on her sight. Mamata Banerjee has announced a Dalit academy in the state, as well as a Hindi academy, in a bid to woo the Hindi speaking Hindus in the state who are generally believed to be BJP leaning.
Mamata Banerjee government has made its plans to introduce Sanskrit as part of school’s secondary curriculum. ISKCON, too, was allotted 700 acres of land at Mayapur for expansion of their temple.
The BJP meanwhile has termed the recent moves of the government as “desperation” to win the Hindu trust back.
Speaking to SatyaVijayi, senior Journalist and political commentator, Nirendra Dev said, “Mamata Banerjee has erred in judging political wisdom of the people of Bengal. She may be thinking of becoming a new Kejriwal vis-a-vis Hindu voters. But having tolerated Leftists and even Trinamool goons, the Hindu Bengali middleclass voters had lost all faith. People shied away from voting. But BJP has given new hopes and minority appeasement of Mamata had surpassed that of communists.”
“I think her realisation too is delayed. Saradha scam did worse and she may not succeed to win over lost Hindu support base,” he added.
All these moves, in recent times clearly point to Mamata Banerjee’s desire to win back the confidence of the Hindu voters. Over past few years, BJP to some extent has successfully established Mamata Banerjee’s image as a pro Muslim leader among sections of Hindus in the state. The TMC supremo clearly wants to break out of this image and again rise up to her former position as a pan-Bengal leader.