The BJP may have lost its star political strategist Prashant Kishor to Congress and the JD (U), but it seems they have found a replacement.
He is a 29-year-old, US-returned public policy graduate who has just added another feather in his cap: a special mention in the roll of credits in BJP’s remarkable victory in Assam.
Rajat Sethi hails from Kanpur and studied at RSS-run Shishu Mandir school. He did his B Tech from IIT-Kharagpur and went on to do a dual degree from MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Kennedy School.
Ram Madhav brought him in
As per a Times of India report, the talks first began when BJP National general secratary Ram Madhav was invited by the Harvard India Group for a lecture in 2014.
Madhav, who had known Rajat since his IIT days, approached him for heading BJP’s campaigning process in Assam, to which he readily agreed. Rajat returned to India in June last year from the US.
He put together a small team, even included members from Prashant Kishor’s outfit that ran Modi’s 2014 prime ministerial campaign.
Using social media, the team communicated the BJP’s agenda to Assam’s youth in all its 32 districts.
Rajat was put in charge of building a database of electoral and demographic information. The team parsed demographic data and drew up numbers for 25,000 polling booths to decode the ethnic balances. They also analysed feedback on poll issues and campaign outlines to the group, as per an NDTV report.
The team focussed on Congress veteran and three-time CM Tarun Gogoi’s weaknesses.
They worked around the perception that the Gogoi government was poor on development. The team also themed the campaign around protecting Assamese identity.
“I helped the BJP because I find ideological similarities with them. I am just like any of the thousands of BJP workers who try and help the party in different ways,” Rajat told NDTV.
Rajat is known to be reserved and modest with media and keeps low-key. He told NDTV that the real credit of the victory goes to BJP’s top leaders Sarbanada Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma, along with a team put together by Ram Madhav.