Purnima Niraj Singh
This is by far our favourite campaign and it needs some context. Niraj Singh, Purnima’s late husband was a popular leader in coal town Dhanbad as a test of his popularity, he extended his family rivalry with cousin Sanjeev Singh by contesting against him on an INC ticket in 2014. Having already served as the Deputy Mayor of Dhanbad, he was already a popular leader in the region, but Jharia happened to be a fortress for the Suryadeo Singh family and for the Bharatiya Janata Party too. He lost the election by a considerable margin but he didn’t stop working among the people of the constituency who were plagued by administrative apathy on various basic issues such as water supply, displacement due to underground fires and relocation of their only source of higher education on similar grounds. While it appeared to be only a matter of time before Niraj claimed Jharia and brought down a fortress, he was unfortunately shot down by mercenaries and Sanjeev Singh the sitting MLA at the time is since an under-trial prisoner for the crime of his cousin, Niraj’s murder. This paved the way for a battle between Purnima Niraj Singh and Sanjeev’s wife Ragini.
We were called upon about three months before the election with a one line brief to find a way to win with all the resources available to us, and we did. A lot of our work was made easier by a genuine sympathy wave, which we built upon with our campaign film, which was undoubtedly a hit on the LED screens. We had a stronger candidate too in that she was more qualified and a more proficient speaker, in both Hindi and English. This was a card we kept for later, until after we had established our viability on the rallies and roadshows on ground. Viability of a candidate determines a lot about the final voting decision of the fence sitters. One final frontier that was left for us to conquer was the city’s large business class that had serious aversion to all the violence and were not exactly sure if we were offering anything different. In the last week of the campaign, we cracked a slogan “Badla Nahi, Badlaw” (change not revenge) which connected us to every last voter and finally emerged ahead in the polls by a margin of 12054 votes, which was a lot more than what we wanted when we had started.
Note: The slogan was timed to perfection with our biggest rally, in the presence of Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia who went on to use it in INC national convention in Delhi and the same even got tweeted by their official handle.