Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, met the Matua matriarch, Binapani Devi, commonly called ‘Boroma’.
The move is being seen by many as one to woo this community and reap political gains in the ‘Bongaon’ parliamentary constituency.
Matuas are an influential Hindu refugee sect (from Bangladesh) that hold substantial sway over the voters in the India-Bangladesh border region across districts like North 24 Parganas and Nadia.
Matuas are Bengal's second most influential Scheduled Caste community, with an estimated population of nearly 70 lakh.
Modi, ahead of a public rally at Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas some 100 kilometres from Kolkata, met Boroma Binapani Devi at her home for five minutes.
There was some speculation as to whether Modi would meet the matriarch or give it a miss.
The BJP has been gaining ground in the region for quite some time now. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which grants citizenship to some of the non-Muslim religious refugees has been the saffron party’s go-to card to make in-roads here.
It is in this context that the PM’s visit to Thakurnagar gains significance.
The Bongaon seat - which BJP is eyeing to win - had elected Mamatabala Thakur, daughter-in-law of the sect matriarch. Mamatabala was married to Kapil Krishna Thakur, Boroma’s elder son, who passed away some years back.
Boroma’s younger son, Manjul Krishna, and his son Santanu Thakur are however said to be close to the BJP. In fact, Santanu also shared the dais.
Wooing the community, the PM began his speech describing the soil of Thakurnagar as "hallowed".