2016 Assam elections
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Dec 27: Brace for some 'Chai pe Charcha', 3D rallies, constituency-level alytics and a powerful digital media campaign in the run-up to the ensuing assembly elections in Assam. For, alongside the ritualistic verbal duels among political rivals, two teams of professiol election strategists will also be pitted against each other in the State.
Prashant Kishor, once the campaign mager of Prime Minister rendra Modi's professiol support team Citizens for Accountable Governce (CAG), is maging the campaign for the Congress in the State. To counter him, the BJP on the other hand has roped in a team of strategists, including IIT and IIM graduates, to mage its campaign - some of who were part of Prashant Kishor's erstwhile team.
Kishor has already made his presence felt. The various hoardings depicting teasers and small messages - like 'Acche din?', 'Rs 15 lakh?' (alluding to Modi's campaign promise in 2014 that Rs 15 lakh will be deposited in every Indian's account after black money stashed abroad is brought back), 'Pondhoro bosoror biswax, Pondhoro bosoror bikax' (15 years of trust, 15 years of development), etc - put up in the city have been credited to him.
Kishor wants to apply the Bihar experiment in Assam also. He is learnt to have been trying to stitch a Bihar-like Mahagathbandhan to defeat the BJP. Meetings were held at senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani's residence in Delhi in this regard. AGP leaders have admitted attending the meeting, while AIUDF has also said it is in the loop.
The BJP's campaign magement team is headed by Rajat Sethi, a public policy graduate from Harvard University, and Shubhrastha, a former jourlist with The Hindu and an integral part of Modi's 2014 campaign. IIT Kharagpur graduates - Mahendra Shukla and Ashish Sogani are also part of the team.
The BJP team recently trained a group of volunteers who will use the social media to launch an aggressive digital campaign for the party.
The concept of bringing out a vision document 'Assam Nirman' - by involving stakeholders in the State - instead of a manifesto this time is also a strategy of the BJP's campaign team.
BJP sources said its team is also preparing 'replies' to the Congress' teaser campaign. "We will launch it soon," they said.
After being sidelined by the BJP after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Prashant Kishor maged the campaign of CM Nitish Kumar against Modi and BJP, with spectacular results. He has been getting more such offers, even from foreign shores. In Tanzania, where elections just got over, Kishor-founded Indian People's Action Committee (IPAC) provided consultancy services to the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.
Both the election strategy teams are being paid heavily.
But there are apprehensions that in the midst of this 'innovative' campaign, the actual problems of Assam will take a backstage.