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In an attempt to consolidate dwindling votes of tribals and santhals for the Trinamool Congress in Bengal’s Jangalmahal or the Western Zone,  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is all set to hold a ‘Hindi-bhashi’ sammelan in Bengal’s Purulia district on November 27.

Political analysts feel that this sammelan could be an attempt to attract the ‘Hindi-speaking’ population in Purulia and in the industrial belt of Asansol in West Burdwan district. In earlier occasions, Banerjee has presided over two such gatherings of ‘Hindi-speaking’ community in Kolkata and Siliguri.

However, tribal organisations look at this meet differently. Local tribal organisation – Bharat Jakat Majhi Pargana Mahal’s Nityanand Hembram says this gathering will only add fuel to the fire.

 “By holding this ‘Hindi-bhashi’ sammelan, she will add fuel to the fire. She knows that the tribals are fuming because the present day government has not done enough for the community. Had it been an ‘adivasi sammelan’ or a ‘santhal sammelan’, we would have still believed that the government is willing to help the community. By holding such a meeting, she will further isolate the tribals in the region. But, we are determined to take this fight for our rights forward,” said Hembram.

The issues plaguing tribal organisations have become a major bone of contention for the ruling Trinamool Congress government. Local tribal organisations claim that they have been deprived of several schemes after they lost their family members in Joint Operations during 2011 to wipe out Maoists from the state. While they were to receive 5kg rice at subsidised rates, they are only getting 2kg due to corruption in the grassroots. Tribals further allege that the region has not seen much of a development while almost all the other regions of the state have flourished development wise.

Sources in the Trinamool Cngress reveal that Banerjee desperately wants to consolidate the tribal vote bank in Purulia district where the Trinamool Congress won only 644 of the total 1,944 gram panchayat seats in the recently concluded Panchayat polls. Reports also reveal that BJP is getting increasingly close to local tribal organisations in certain pockets of Jangalmahal.

Banerjee will be accompanied by her nephew and Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee on a two-day visit to Purulia.

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