We were always confident of a comfortable win in Tripura: BJP’s Sunil Deodhar
There was silent voting for the BJP by people who were affected by the misrule of the Manik Sarkar government. The people also had no faith in the Opposition, since the Congress did nothing.Updated: Mar 04, 2018 22:36 IST
Sunil Deodhar, the man who is being feted for leading the BJP’s electoral campaign in the Left bastion of Tripura, is reluctant to take credit for helping revive the party’s fortunes in the state. In an interview to HT, he denoted it as a victory steered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his “development agenda”. Excerpts:
Everyone wants to know how the BJP shaped its campaign in the state to emerge as a winner?
We were always confident of a comfortable win. There was silent voting for the BJP by people who were affected by the misrule of the Manik Sarkar government. CPI(M) was battling anti-incumbency and the people in this state wanted to get rid of the communist government. The people also had no faith in the Opposition, since the [principal Opposition] Congress did nothing. In 2013 (during the assembly poll) both the then PM Manmohan Singh and then Congress president Sonia Gandhi cancelled their visits at the last minute, which gave the impression that they were not interested. When the ground level activities began to pick pace, there was confidence among people that there is an alternative.
The party pulled out all the stops; with PM Modi holding four rallies and a host of ministers campaigning.
This was Modiji’s visit after a long time, he had come here in 2014 to inaugurate the Palatana Thermal power plant; but with his arrival for the rallies, the mood changed and the morale was revived. The crowds were excited to see him. Rallies by the PM were no doubt a game changer.
Over the past four years, 52 ministers came at various times to take stock and hold routine party meetings, this showed the seriousness with which we contested the poll. For campaigning senior ministers Nitin Gadkari and JP Nadda came, finance minister Arun Jaitley came for the release of the manifesto. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath who has a huge following was here a few times, so was former Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda who came to interact with the tea garden workers who trace their roots to Jharkhand.
Who will be the CM now?
A team of observers will be sent here who will meet all the elected representatives and come up with a name through consensus. The name will eventually be related to the parliamentary board who will take the final call.
How did you manage to breach the tribal and Scheduled Caste vote banks?
Nobody expected us to do as well as we have done in getting tribal and SC votes. We worked relentlessly with these people and gave the tribals positions in the party; four people were included in the core group. Issues that concerned them the most were raised and their views were sought. We talked about the need to honour their icons. Similarly, for the SCs, we drafted a separate brochure, we created SC morchas at all booths and went to the people with the ideas of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Strategically engaging with these groups helped .
What next for you?
The party will decide my next role, but as far as I am concerned, I want to see the government work efficiently on the ground and meet people’s expectations and aspirations. I will contribute to make that happen.