How Manoranjan Byapari Went From Bengal’s Refugee Camps to Its Legislative Assembly

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In the 2019 general election, when BJP had a surprise win in 18 out 42 seats in West Bengal, many of these were in areas dominated by Scheduled Castes and Tribes. So, for the 2021 state assembly elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress’s main challenge was reconnecting with Dalit and Adivasi voters. This has been possible because of figures like Manorajan Byapari, a Dalit refugee author who entered politics with this election and won. The TMC won a total of 213 seats out of 294, with the BJP winning in 75.

In this episode of The Suno India Show, our reporter Suryatapa Mukherjee speaks to the MLA whose life is stranger than fiction. Previously a cow-herder, chaiwallah, rickshaw-puller and cook who spent many nights starving on the streets, Byapari has managed to fight to the top. The award-winning author first learned to read and write during a stint in prison. Now as the Chair of the new Dalit Sahitya Academy and as an MLA, he says he will work for the people previously he could only write about.

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