As the Marxist and the TMC-Congress coalition compete for their Muslim support and the Muslim leaders feel confident to throw them out if their interest is not taken care off, one wonders, what happens to the followers of Goddesses Durga and Kali in West Bengal?
Saugar Sengupta | Kolkata
The Left Front received another jolt when after the Urdu-speaking Muslims their Bengali counterparts revolted against the Marxist “double-dealers.”
The State’s leading and most revered Muslim umbrella body of Furfura Sharif openly pledged its support for the Opposition Congress-Trinamool Congress combine.
It is another matter however that a beleaguered CPI(M) leadership decided to look right through the development stating the “party does not believe in communal politics”, though it attached “sufficient importance to community-based developments which may be proved by the latest decision of the State Government to impart free job-oriented training to the minorities.”
Religious head of Furfura Sharif Tauha Siddiqi told a huge gathering of Muslims that he would advise the members of his communities to reject the CPI (M) as it had bamboozled the Muslims of Bengal for the past three decades.
The cleric made this statement on Sunday in presence of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and warned: “If Mamata fails to keep her promise towards the Muslims then we will throw her out of Bengal as well.”
The clerics of Furfura Sharif had traditionally been a pro-Left lot and even after the Nandigram movement and the rise of Siddiqullah Chowdhury they refused to commit direct support to any particular group.
Even when senior Congress leaders and the mastermind of anti-Taslima Nasreen movement Idrish Ali implored Siddiqui’s support the latter looked the other way. This dispassionate policy continued till the Lok Sabha election when the CPI (M) polled about 50 per cent of the Muslim votes in West Bengal — down from a traditional 65-70 per cent.
They felt the Marxist leaders continued to “ignore us even after the election. There was no leader coming to us to discuss the worries of the Muslims for which they were indicted by the Sacchhar Committee report. This confirmed that the Government was taking the Muslims as lightly as it took the general lot of farmers, tribals and other poorer sections who brought them to power repeatedly.”
The Furfura Sharif is happy that Banerjee had announced a railway link line joining Howrah with the shrine situated in Hooghly district. A tourist highway has also been planned, sources said adding the Centre had sanctioned the necessary funds.
West Bengal has an 8 crore-plus population out of about 2.3 crore are Muslims. The Urdu-speaking Muslims constitute a little more than 15 lakh. “The CPI(M) will be seen no where if the entire Muslim lot votes against them and this time they will do so to teach the defiant and arrogant Marxists a lesson,” he said.
While the Muslims constitute about 25 per cent of the total voting population, their effective voting strength goes as high as 33 per cent said Subroto Mukherjee, former Kolkata Mayor and PCC working president. This because they vote in full and vote en masse.
With Furfura Sharif declaring its official stance the Left Front seems to have lost its third major ally after the tribals of West Midnapore and Matua or a section of SC community residing mostly in North and South 24 Parganas and Nadia districts and comprising more than 74 lakh people.