BJP wrested Tripura with a well-crafted plan

BJP wrested Tripura with a well-crafted plan

BJP wrested Tripura with a well-crafted plan

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ousted the Left from its 25-year-old bastion of Tripura as a result of a finely-crafted strategy which cashed on a fatigue against the Marxists among the voters who were seeking a change.

BJP managers struck a successful alliance with a tribal outfit and ensured a forceful campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders in key areas.

What paid off the most for the party was its strategy to organise its cadres - over a period of time - into a network of booth-level workers who worked hard to bring targeted votes in tune with the main campaign goal.

The result was that the BJP increased its vote share from about 1% in the last election to a little over 42.5% - only marginally below that of the CPM at 43.2%.

"In fact, it was soon after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an eye on Tripura," BJP leaders said.

His word was that the opportunity to displace the Left from its most entrenched citadel in the Northeast should not be wasted as that would leave only Kerala under its sway.

BJP chief Amit Shah got his aides and strategy managers  - Assam minister Hemanta Biswas Sarma, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar  - who spent three years  to make  detailed management on the ground.

They had one mission: the 2018 polls should be a direct fight between the BJP and the CPM.

This meant that the BJP would contest a lion share of 50 seats and leave nine seats for its new ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT).

It also entailed absorbing into its fold a majority of erstwhile opposition leaders and workers, who once belonged to the Congress, later shifted to the Trinamool Congress under Mamata Banerjee but were still looking for a more powerful political entity to take on the Left.

A venerated chief minister like Manik Sarkar was projected as the gentleman of politics but the party he has led for more than two decades was "intolerant of any opposition," a BJP functionary said.

There was a climate of fear and political reprisals."The BJP sought to end the fear among the people as many of its workers fell victim to the Marxist violence. We showed that we alone could usher in a new level of development that met the people's aspirations," said Sarma.

Madhav said the BJP's success was sought to be thwarted by the Congress by trying to divide the anti-Left vote. "But our cadres worked with voters at every booth level for this grand success."

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh with its previous record of long work in the state also chipped in wherever  required.

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