Regaining confidence of Matua voters in Bengal is Trinamool’s biggest challenge

Kolkata:  After the startling win in the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal, one of the teething headaches that the ruling Trinamool Congress will have to address, especially in view of the 2026 Assembly polls, is to regain the confidence of the Matua voters in the state in a major way.

Despite bagging 29 out of 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, two constituencies with Matuas as the deciding factor, namely Ranaghat in Nadia district and Bangaon in North 24 Parganas district, have remained areas of discomfort for the Trinamool Congress. Matua, the backward-class community came to West Bengal as refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh after Partition as well as during the 1971 War.

From the recent electoral results, it is evident that the confidence of the Matua voters in BJP, which started gaining momentum since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has not faded much even in the last polls.

From Ranaghat, the sitting BJP Lok Sabha member Jagannath Sarkar not only got re-elected this time by a margin of 1,86,899 votes, he was also able to maintain the percentage of votes polled in his favour at 50.78.

In the case of Bangaon, BJP’s sitting Lok Sabha member and the Union Minister of State for Port, Shipping and Highways Shantanu Thakur got re-elected by a more or less comfortable margin of 73,693 votes. In terms of voting percentage, too Thakur’s performance was impressive at 48.19 as against 43.25 for his opponent from Trinamool Congress Biswajit Das.

In both these Lok Sabha constituencies, the entire campaign lines of both BJP and Trinamool Congress were almost entirely focused on the notification of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on the Citizenship Registration Act (CAA).

The BJP highlighted the notification as the fulfilment of the commitment to granting citizenship to people from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian backgrounds coming from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Trinamool Congress leadership, especially Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, stressed on a single-point campaign line that the CAA notification does not come with the guarantee of getting citizenship but with the risk of losing the same.

Now from the results of the Ranaghat and Bangaon, it is clear that the subscribers of BJP’s logic among the Matua voters were significantly higher than those accepting Mamata Banerjee’s claims.

In such a situation, feel political observers, it goes without saying that regaining the confidence of Matua voters will be an area of key concentration for the ruling party in the backdrop of the 2026 Assembly polls.

Trinamool Congress has already started the process which is reflected in the candidate selection for the bypolls to the Bagda Assembly constituency, one of the seven under the Bangaon Lok Sabha. For the Bagda bypolls, the party has fielded Madhuparana Thakur, who belongs to the founding family of Matua Mahasangha, the biggest association of Matuas.

A cousin sister of Shantanu Thakur, Madhuparna is the daughter of the current Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member and former Lok Sabha member from Bangaon, Mamata Bala Thakur


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