What Amit Shah’s lunch on Nov 5 & 6 in tribal and refugee homes signifies

Union Home Minister Amit Shah – who is spearheading BJP’s fight against Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee in the coming Assembly elections 2021 in Bengal – is on a two-day visit to the state.

His plan to have lunch with tribal and refugee families on both days has been organised by the party in Bankura and North 24 Parganas districts. On Thursday, Shah is scheduled to have lunch with a tribal family in the Chaturdhi village of Bankura district, and on Friday, he will have lunch at a Matua home in Rajarhat-New Town, in the northern fringes of Kolkata.

Bankura in the Jangalmahal area has become a BJP stronghold after the party’s good performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with Jhargram, Purulia, Midnapore, Bankura, Bishnupur seats won by the party in this region. Trinamool Congress, that had a good support from the region during the Nandigram and Lalgarh movements, failed to retain its hold over the area, and is working hard to woo people again.

The Matua community, originally from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), wants citizenship under the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). BJP MP Santanu Thakur – from a Matua family – was backed by the Matuas for this in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Thakur has been recently upset and spoke publicly about the “delay” in the implementation of the Act. BJP leaders have been saying that the CAA plan has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Friday’s lunch programme by Amit Shah is thus being seen as a way of addressing these grievances and to reassure the Matuas that the CAA plan is well on track.

This is not the first time the Union Home Minister is having his lunch with a Dalit family. In 2017, Shah visited a Dalit home in Naxalbari and had lunch there along with BJP Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh. A week after this however, the couple in whose home Shah had lunched, went public to state they were joining the Trinamool Congress.

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