The West Bengal government has decided to recognise the tribal- centric Sari and Sarna as separate religions, and a bill for this will be moved in the Assembly during the Budget session starting from Wednesday.
The decision was taken at the all-party meeting convened by Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay in the Assembly premises on Tuesday afternoon. However, only Trinamool Congress MLAs were present at the meeting, as BJP legislators boycotted it and the All India Secular Front’s lone MLA Naushad Siddique could not be present as he is behind the bars.
Emerging out of the meeting, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay informed media persons it was to honour the long-standing demands of the tribal population that the state government has decided to recognise Sari and Sarna as separate religions.
“The tribal people are followers of Sari and Sarna though they are shown as part of the Hindu religion. On February 13 a special motion will be brought in the state Assembly to condemn the recent attempts by different divisive forces to divide West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee might attend that session that day,” he said.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP candidates won in all the tribal-dominated constituencies in the state, and while the Trinamool was able to recover a substantial share of the lost votes there in the 2021 Assembly polls, the recovery had not been as per expectations.
Meanwhile, a perception is also there that a substantial portion of the tribal votes might again shift to the BJP again in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the psychological factor that might play a role behind this trend is Dropaudi Murmu being elected as the first Indian President from tribal background.