Just hours before the model of conduct came into effect with the announcement of the Assembly poll schedule on Friday (26 February), Mamata Banerjee led TMC government in West Bengal has allocated Rs 2.60 crore for the development of Furfura Sharif which is a holy place for Bengali muslims, reports The Indian Express.
The decision comes amid fears of TMC that the newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF) floated by prominent Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui would eat into its muslim vote bank who form around 30 per cent of the state population.
“This fund will be mainly used for 20 high mast and 400 LED street lights and other beautification projects of the shrine. In the 2020-21 financial year, the Finance Department allotted almost Rs 20 crore for at least 60 schemes and the Furfura Sharif Development Authority,” said a senior official of the Finance Department.
Recently, Siddiqui had announced that the Left Front had agreed to give his party 30 seats. TMC leaders estimate that the ISF holds sway in at least five districts, including Hooghly, Howrah and North 24 Parganas.
Siddiqui, who belongs to a clan of clerics that administers Furfura Sharif, considered to be the second most important mazar for Muslims after Ajmer’s Dargah Sharif, has considerable following in North and South 24 Parganas District, Howrah and Hooghly districts.
These four districts have a 100 odd constituencies and Muslims have a sizable presence in 50 of them.
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