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HomePoliticsSunil Deodhar: The Mumbaikar who conjured up a saffron wave in Tripura

Sunil Deodhar: The Mumbaikar who conjured up a saffron wave in Tripura

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Social worker, RSS pracharak, poll strategist, Deodhar put together a meticulous campaign to breach the formidable Left bastion in Tripura.

New Delhi: A new, as yet unknown star has risen in the BJP, following the familiar route from being an RSS pracharak to back-room political general.

Meet Sunil Deodhar, 52, born Maharashtrian but a naturalised Tripuri now, in a political sense.

If the BJP’s score-card in Tripura is spectacular, he is the man of the match. In the true style of the RSS, a single-minded worker you haven’t seen grand-standing on TV channels, or setting Twitter on fire.

Deodhar was always inclined towards the RSS but it is his journey as a social worker in the Northeast that he likes to recount more. Deodhar joined the RSS in 1985 and in 1991 was posted as a pracharak for Meghalaya.

He started My Home India, an organisation that helps students from the Northeast across the country. In 2012, he was given charge of Dahod district in the Gujarat assembly polls and in 2013, of South Delhi during the Delhi state elections.

Deodhar, who was also in charge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in Varanasi in 2014, was sent to handle Tripura in November 2014, a state where the party had no seats and a negligible presence. Deodhar had earlier spent eight years in Meghalaya understanding the northeastern society.

Working on the ground meticulously, Deodhar built a formidable structure from booth level upward, working closely with party president Amit Shah. Fifty-odd flats were rented in Tripura for party volunteers brought in from all over the country to pitch in and shape the election. It is believed several of these volunteers showed enthusiasm for Tripura, a state where the party was not even a force, only because of Deodhar’s conviction.

A carefully crafted strategy followed. Deodhar and the party were quick to identify the mood against the Manik Sarkar-led CPI(M) government and the fact that Congress was not seen as a viable alternative. To build its cadre, Deodhar and his team brought in Congress workers to the BJP, creating a ready base. Each Congress leader who came in brought with him/her around 3,000-4,000 people, and with this, a base was built.

A careful structure was then built with panna pramukhs (page in-charge), booth level committees, Shakti Kendras, morchas and district committees. Vistaraks or full time workers were appointed and to train them, workers from Assam were brought in.

Essentially, in every voter list page of a booth, the party had a panna pramukh, whose job was to go to each household that falls in his/her domain and spread the party’s message. This ensured a vast ground level exercise to match the might of the CPI(M) cadres.

“There is tremendous anti-incumbency in this state. People of Tripura saw BJP as a party that didn’t compromise on corruption and was active towards the Northeast. As BJP started winning states, Congress cadres and leaders started coming to us,” Deodhar had told ThePrint in the run up to the elections, explaining the party’s strategy.

“In the last one year, even CPI(M) started breaking. We formed booths. Today out of 3,214 booths, 3,209 booth committees are ready. In one voter list of a booth, there is an average of 15-17 pages, in each page there are 60 voters. We have a panna pramukh for each page and his duty is to knock on the door of each of these 60 voters in one fortnight,” he had said.

Deodhar also ensured there was as much a push from the top, as ground up. Hence, the messaging was clearly worked out and the party ensured a union minister visited the state every few months to give an impression of the party being invested in Tripura.

Besides being a hardcore poll strategist, there is another side to Deodhar. He is known for his love for music, especially old songs. He knows more than 3,000 songs. He also speaks Khasi, besides Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and a bit of Kokbarok, Tripura’s tribal dialect. All of which seems to have come together seamlessly to produce a wave for his party and breach another bastion in the Northeast.

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  1. Shree Devodharji has been working there in northeast for more than 2 decades, educating north east prople.

    Now the person like Aditi Mahajan , secular worms -hypocrite who always prefer to praise Christian missionaries , would always try to let RSS down

    Deodharji has been living austere life for the people of north east, to integrate them in mainstream Hindustan.
    I personally mate Meghalaya student while in Pune staying in Meghalay chatra niwas.
    Secular worms would not know this, because they always read what is anti-RSS.

    I would like to ask this secular worm, would you ever imagine to work in north east tribes , learning their language 2000km away from Mumbai, there was struggle for everything right from security issues to finding food to survive.
    These secular worms would praise the pope , despite he proclaimed his agenda was to convert India into christainity.
    But for RSS they have different stand.
    This is hypocracy.
    So hypocrites do you know ,RSS has running schools and other charity organisations all over India. But compare to Christian missionaries who get lot of fund from Rome ,RSS gets less than 1% of help.

  2. Now, only if BJP knew what to do with such massive mandates! It takes no brains to pounce on anti-incumbency. But what’s happened in Delhi and Mumbai will repeat everywhere – a regressive country, full of jumlas and inflated economics, scams and most importantly, loss of civility and decency. A shrill dictatorship with suspect morals. Beyond a Hindu siege mentality, BJP & RSS have nothing to offer. Tripura or Gujarat. Maharashtra or Rajasthan.

    • You may want to consult a dictionary to see what ‘dictatorship’ means. I’m tired of seeing Congressis and Leftists whine about BJP ‘dictatorship’ every time they win a DEMOCRATIC election.

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