While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still rejoicing its clean sweep in Tripura, do you know it’s the saffron party’s Maharashtrian leader Sunil Deodhar, who was the mastermind in making the Left bastion fall in the state like a pack of cards after 25 years of rule!
Even Tripura’s new chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb acknowledged his contribution and tweeted: “Thank you Shri @Sunil_Deodhar ji. I would rather call you Bhai Sahab, you are my foundation, following your guidance I traveled across the state. You accompanied my ups and downs in life. Once again thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Here are 10 things you would want to know about Sunil Deodhar:
1. Sunil Deodhar, a suave gentleman with immense political prowess, is known for his understanding of grassroots level issues.
2. It was BJP president Amit Shah, who sent Sunil Deodhar to Tripura in 2014 to achieve what was then believed to be unachievable. And Sunil Deodhar just managed to do that!
3. He knows how to read people’s minds.
In an interview with Mumbai Mirror post BJP’s victory in the state, Sunil Deodhar said: “I was reading this result on the faces of people for the last three years. They were seeking change in Tripura. They wanted to get rid of this Marxist government. A person is Chief Minister for 20 years and 67 percent people are BPL card holders. Almost one third population are unemployed. Overall crime rate was very high, even against women, trafficking of ganja to Bangladesh rampant. These were the reasons that worked against the ruling party.”
4. Sunil Deodhar has the excellent capability of balancing political strategies and hard work in implementing them. He managed to make many Congress activists in the Tripura join BJP.
“As almost all Congress activists and leaders joined BJP, we had to organise repeated training programmes at district level, mandal and state level to acquaint them with the party’s ideology,” he told Mumbai Mirror.
5. Sunil Deodhar, known for his simple lifestyle, lived in a rented house in Agartala.
6. To make sure the common people of Tripura welcome him as one of them, Sunil Deodhar, whose mother tongue is Marathi, learnt to speak fluent Bengali, as majority of the population in the state is Bengali.
7. Sunil Deodhar, who is quick to learn new languages, even picked up Kokborok, the native language of Tripura tribals. To get them in BJP’s favour, he travelled extensively to tribal areas. He claims he knows tribal psychology, their behaviour and techniques to win them over, and hence was readily accepted by Tripura tribals, who form over 31% of the state’s population.
8. Known for always delivering the desired results, Sunil Deodhar had masterminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the 2014 General Elections.
9. In 2013, he was assigned to campaign for South Delhi Assembly elections. There were 7 Congress and 3 BJP MLAs before the polls. Post his campaign and polls, there were 7 BJP and 3 AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) MLAs.
10. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak caught Amit Shah’s attention for the first time when he was the campaign in-charge of Gujarat’s Dahod district during the 2012 elections. Out of six seats, BJP has only 1, while Congress was in power in 5 seats. Post elections, the BJP tally changed to 3 seats.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.