New Delhi/Kolkata: BJP's man in Tripura, who helped the saffron party defeat the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government that was in power for more than 20 years, is now asked to focus on Kolkata. He is the party's national secretary Sunil Deodhar. MyNation has reliably learned that none lesser than BJP president Amit Shah has asked Deodhar to focus on the last phase of the Lok Sabha election in Bengal when Kolkata goes to poll. In fact, even today BJP's Tripura man is stationed in Kolkata, strategising to spring a surprise in the final phase.

Sunil Deodhar after visiting a Kali temple in Kolkata

Why Kolkata?

Sources close to Deodhar insist the idea was to involve him for entire Bengal. Since very little time is left for it, as three phases of the election have already been conducted, the party leadership wanted Deodhar to work his 'magic' on Kolkata, as it will give him enough time to strategise and implement the ideas on the ground. Kolkata goes to polls on May 19.

Another reason for choosing Kolkata was because Kolkata's urban electorate still has a Trinamool-leaning even as rural Bengal in as far-flung areas as in Purulia or Bankura are witnessing a saffron surge. Even BJP's internal survey for Bengal projects not a very promising picture from Kolkata though they expect to surpass 15 seats from overall Bengal. Deodhar is entrusted with the job of swaying the Trinamool-leaning but disgruntled electorate of Kolkata towards BJP in the next one month.

Why Sunil Deodhar?

When Deodhar went to Tripura, the BJP was considered a party of outsiders and it had a negligible 1.5% vote share in the state. In the next few years, it was the work on the ground headed by this man that saw the BJP see a landslide victory in 2018 assembly polls. With less than a month in hand, the BJP president has now asked him to repeat his 'Tripura magic' for the seats in Kolkata.

Another reason for selecting the 53-year-old former RSS pracharak is his familiarity with the Bengali culture. Tripura being predominantly Bengali, Deodhar learned to speak the language during his stay in Tripura. That ease with the language will help the BJP leader while in Kolkata. The change in food habit brought in by him while in Tripura is another reason that helped him in Tripura. The BJP top brass believes the inculcated culture will help him this time in Kolkata. Insiders say Deodhar learned to eat fish and acquired the taste as a compulsion that helped him gel along with the masses. In Kolkata, where fish is a religion, the BJP has pinned hope on this rare fish-eater from its stable. 

Deodhar while campaigning in Tripura

Three years ago, Deodhar is believed to have told BJP chief Shah that “Mai rahun na rahun, Tripura aapko zaroor milega’ (I may not remain but I will get Tripura for the BJP). As Shah sent Deodhar to Kolkata this time with a mission, he hopes to get a similar result.