Agartala: No doubt in the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s spectacular sweep in Tripura has been made possible by the collective efforts of many leaders and party workers, supporters. There is one man who stands out behind it : Sunil Deodhar.
Sunil Deodhar, is the man behind this massive victory. His meticulous planning, untiring efforts, political savvy, and eye for detail have resulted in this victory.
With a vote share of 1.54% in the 2013 assembly elections against the incumbent CPI (Marxist)’s 48.11%, it should have been a foregone conclusion that the BJP holds no chance in the state’s February 18 assembly polls.
The brief given to Deodhar, who joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1985, was to make the BJP a powerful force in Tripura – a goal that seemed impossible in a state where Marxists have remained entrenched in power for the past 25 years.
Sunil Deodhar doesn’t pull any punches, and he pulled out all the stops in Tripura to bring the BJP to where it is today. He has been a man on a mission over the past three years since he was made the ‘prabhari’ of Tripura by BJP president Amit Shah in November 2014.
Sunil Deodhar designed and launched some innovative campaigns, one of the most successful being the Modi Doot Yojana. BJP workers wearing t-shirts bearing Modi’s portrait would board a morning train from Agartala to Dharmanagar and distribute booklets detailing welfare schemes launched by Modi in Bengali and Kokborok languages.
The Marxists were infamous for their intolerance of opposition and had created a climate of fear. The Opposition (the Congress) was weak and despairing. Few could muster the courage to oppose the Marxists, who were firmly against conceding even an inch of political space to the BJP. In such a scenario, Deodhar also set up a social media cell with a dedicated team sending messages on Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. That fulfilled a lot of support from the youth.
In contrast, the CPI(M), made up of old and ageing leaders not conversant with the latest technologies, had virtually no presence on social media. Though the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M), being a cadre-based party, had a very strong organisation in Tripura.
In the third elections as Gujarat chief minister (in 2013), PM asked him to manage the Dahod district where there were five Congress MLAs and one BJP MLA. He was sent there six months before the elections.
The Party workers collected the mobile numbers of train passengers, which then went into a database. Deodhar’s war room men then started sending out messages – cartoons, video clips, small capsules, and text messages – detailing CPI(M) misrule and BJP’s vision for Tripura to these numbers. A call centre was set up to take calls from people across the state.
Lastly it must be mentioned that Sunil Deodhar also coined catchy slogans like “chalo paltai (come, let’s change (our rulers)” and “Tripura teh gorib more, mukhya mantri chopper a chorey (while the poor die in Tripura, the chief minister rides a chopper)” that became hits.