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  Metros   Kolkata  28 Nov 2018  TMC to construct temples in Bengal’s Hindi heartland

TMC to construct temples in Bengal’s Hindi heartland

Published : Nov 28, 2018, 12:42 am IST
Updated : Nov 28, 2018, 12:42 am IST

Earlier, in March-April of this year, Asansol in West Burdwan district witnessed communal riots over Ram Navami celebrations.

Devotees offer prayers on the occasion of Chhath puja.
 Devotees offer prayers on the occasion of Chhath puja.

Kolkata: The TMC is mulling construction of 10 sun temples in Asansol area of south Bengal to peddle its “soft Hindutva” brand and take the wind out of the BJP’s sails in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Senior Trinamul Congress (TMC) leader and Mayor of Asansol Municipal Corporation Jitendra Kumar Tiwari is at the forefront of construction of the temples in his area which is likely to be completed before next year’s “Chhath” puja.

In addition to increasing outreach among the majority community members, the TMC’s efforts also appear to be guided by its endeavour to further endear itself with the migrant Hindi speaking population from Bihar and Jharkhand in the region which has five Lok Sabha constituencies

“In this area of Durgapur-Asansol, there is a huge Hindi speaking population. Every year, we witness large number of devotees during Chhath Puja. In order to cater to them, we have decided to build 10 sun temples in the area,” Mr Tiwari, who is also the chairman of Chhath Puja Coordination Committee, said.

The designs of the temples would be ready by December and the construction will cost around Rs 2 crore, Mr Tiwari, who is also a TMC MLA from the West Burdwan district, said. “We have already started mobilising funds from the locals for the construction of the temples. We have formed temple committees in different areas to raise funds. The Asansol Municipal Corporation will provide infrastructure support such as roads and electricity,” he said.

Asansol-Durgapur belt has been one of the most politically and communally volatile regions in the state since 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which witnessed a surprising victory of BJP’s Babul Supriyo.

Earlier, in March-April of this year, Asansol in West Burdwan district witnessed communal riots over Ram Navami celebrations.

The TMC’s temple building exercise is being seen as its bid to check the saffron party’s growth, which has made steady inroads in the region since Supriyo’s victory.

The decision to construct the temples comes at a time when the BJP has registered phenomenal growth in Bengal politics by championing the cause of Hindus and labelling TMC as a party more “keen on appeasing Muslims”.

The BJP, which has fixed a target to win 22 seats in Bengal, is also set to start its three ‘rath yatras’ in Bengal from December 7 covering all the 42 Lok Sabha seats of the state.

However, a senior TMC leader and MP, on the condition of anonymity said, the party and the state government works for every caste and religion.

“We are aware that 10 sun temples are coming up in Asansol. The allegations of TMC practising soft Hindutva are completely baseless. We respect each and every religion. We don’t believe in communal politics of BJP,” the TMC leader told PTI. Although, TMC sources admitted that the temples would endear the party to the Hindi speaking migrants in the region as Chhath festival — to worship sun god — is close to their hearts.

The Asansol-Durgapur belt and parts of Birbhum and Purulia, which share its border with Jharkhand, is known as the Hindi heartland of Bengal due to presence of considerable Hindi speaking population.    

Tags: 2019 lok sabha polls, chhath puja