From Five MLAs in 2011 to 60 in 2016, the BJP has come a long way in just five years. It is on its way to forming the new government in Assam with its alliance partners.
Behind this historic success, is a dedicated team of backroom managers, groups of young BJP supporters, some top leaders, two dynamic professionals and their team and an interesting initiative christened Assam Nirman.
In was due to BJP’s unprecedented success in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where it won seven of the 14 seats in the state that the top leadership saw a real chance of poaching power from the Congress which ruled for 15 years.
Party’s national General Secretary Ram Madhav and Pravari for Assam Mahendra Singh were tasked by national president Amit Shah with drawing up a plan to capture power in Assam.
The party conducted four statewide surveys - first on October 2015, the second in December 2015, the third before candidate declaration and the last one after declaration of candidates.
The party leadership got inputs on the ground realities from these surveys. The party also decided that instead of a manifesto for Assam, they would have a vision document.
They formed a team for it through the Assam Nirman initiative, under which public consultations were held, with top central leaders attending the bigger ones.
“It was a multi-pronged strategy that was working behind the scenes. On the one side, we had our team of volunteers and grassroots workers working on surveys and information gathering. Then we had the policy level and logistics team which was helping the local and central leadership understand the ground feedback and act as a bridge between the party and the voters. Ram Madhav ji was galvanising the entire team,” said Bhaskar J Gogoi, a top functionary of the Assam Nirman initiative.
Then BJP roped in a group of young people from Harvard, MIT, IIT and IIM, who were led by public policy graduate from Harvard University Rajat Sethi. Rajat has worked with the World Bank with Shubhrastha, who was an integral part of Narendra Modi's 2014 campaign and former core member of poll strategist Prasant Kisor’s team.
“We soon identified the key objective to win the polls. The objective was to create a coalition of the greater Assamese society and thus we recommended an alliance with regional and indigenous groups,” Rajat Sethi told DH in Guwahati.
Rajat and his team, in consultation with the BJP leadership, decided that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sarbananda Sonowal would be the face of the party in the campaign, Himanta Biswa Sarma will do maximum rallies and Ram Madhav would control and monitor syncing of different groups of the parties, the allies and even the RSS.