When BJP hired Rajat Sethi for Assam poll, a Public Policy graduate of prestigious Harvard University, Congress and AAP supporters ridiculed the party for this selection. Even BJP supporters were enraged with this attempt and some went to the extent of terming it suicidal. Many wondered why BJP can’t again approach Prashant Kishore. After all, Prashant Kishore had never developed any sour relation with Narendra Modi. He had only some issues with Amit Shah. But, BJP remained adamant and Assam poll has shown that the hiring Rajat Sethi was a useful decision.
Rajat Sethi, with some of the prominent members of Prashant Kishore team, decimated Congress in Assam which seem to be a wonderful achievement if you take a look at the demographic distribution of the state – Muslims and illegal immigrants have sizeable population ratio in the state who don’t vote for the BJP.
Profile of Rajat Sethi
Rajat Sethi was born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, in 1986. His father was a follower of RSS ideology, though he never got associated with the BJP. Rajat was a brilliant student from his school days and cracked IIT JEE in 2004. As a matter of fact, he has completed schooling from RSS run Saraswati Shishu Mandir. He took admission in IIT – Kharagpur and completed B. Tech in 2009 with Computer Science. He worked as a software engineer in the USA and went to the MIT University for MBA in 2012. In between, he had also done Master of Public Administration – MA – with specialization in Public Policy Analyst from Havard Kennedy School of Government. At that time, he was not thinking about working for a party back home in India. He had worked with Hillary Clinton campaign team for few months as an intern, though.
In 2014, Ram Madhav went to the Harvard for a lecture. There he met Rajat Sethi. Ram Madhav knew about Sethi since his IIT days because of later work to promote Hindi even in IITs. They discussed political issues in the meeting and Ram Madhav shared BJP plans to win Assam, a difficult target for the party in any case. Rajat Sethi showed interest and when Ram Madhav requested him to come to Guahati to handle the entire back office for election strategy, he took some time. At that time, Bihar Election has made Prashant Kishore a sort of national hero. Prashant didn’t deny association with Congress and some of his team members got infuriated. They did work for Nitish Kumar, where Congress was an ally, but never wanted to work entirely for Congress. One of them was Shubhrastha, a maverick young girl of Prashant Kishore team. She tried to convince Prashant without any success and hence directly contacted Ram Madhav.
Rajat was also in India at that time and Ram Madhav arranged a meeting of all stake holders. After discussing all issues, Rajat Sethi and Shubhrastha decided to take the challenge. They went to Guahati and worked tirelessly with some other highly educated young guys. The result of Assam election is a reflection of their hard work in a challenging political climate as well as in a challenging geographical location.
The team worked under the supervision of Ram Madhav. They meticulously planned every move, like making Tarun Gogoi defensive during the entire political campaign. They also let Himanta addressing more rallies and political meeting than the face of the party, Sonowal. They also planned and convinced electoral about ‘Assam Nirman’.
It should be noted here that Rajat had convinced many IITians to join his team in Guahati. Some of his classmates in IIT Kharagpur like Mahendra Shukla, Ashish Mishra and Ashish Soagani left plum job and worked for him in Guahati.
Rajat Sethi is the founder of Arthashashtra Foundation which is definitely going to give tough competition to Prashant Kishore led i-PAC.