ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dalit Question in the Upcoming West Bengal Assembly Elections

Suppressed for long, autonomous Dalit politics is finding its voice in West Bengal through the organisational strength of the Matua Mahasangha. This article takes a look at the recent developments in this organisation and how it is projecting Dalit demands in the run-up to the coming legislative assembly elections in the state.

West Bengal is soon to witness its next assembly elections in mid-2016. This time it will certainly be more interesting and extremely significant given the current status of Indian democracy. After the results of Bihar assembly polls, there is an increased possibility of new alliances coming up between political parties at the regional level primarily to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruthless violence of Hindutva forces across the country. In West Bengal, talks for a coalition are already brewing between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the Congress Party in order to revive their relevance through a combined fight against their two common rivals—BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Compared to the last Lok Sabha elections which was a four-sided contest, such a probable alliance, if formed this time, is likely to affect the vote share, and thus seat division, significantly. The election is a decisive one for the incumbent TMC in order to stay in power for a second time; and for the BJP, it is a face-saving battle to extend, if not merely protect the gains of May 2014.

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