Mamata Banerjee’s mega outreach initiative Didi Ke Bolo drew over 10 lakh respondents in the first 30 days of its launch, with sources in her party attributing the “overwhelming response” to the success of the exercise conceived by poll consultant Prashant Kishor to drastically change the game.
According to figures shared by the Trinamul chief herself, over 10 lakh people have made more than 8 lakh calls and filed nearly 2 lakh digital responses since the initiative was launched on July 29. Of the responses, 32 per cent were suggestions, 42 per cent grievances and 22 per cent appreciatory messages. Four per cent were categorised as “miscellaneous”.
“I am humbled with the overwhelming response of the people on the @DidiKeBolo platform. In the last 30 days, over 10 Lakh people have reached out to us with their words of appreciation for the initiative, valuable suggestions & grievances,” Mamata tweeted, along with the figures also mentioning night stays by 500 Trinamul leaders in 1,022 villages so far.
Mamata herself has been paying surprise visits to various parts of the state — from slums to backward villages — with the trips lined up around her administrative review meetings to seek first-hand feedback on delivery of services by her government.
The figures uploaded by Mamata Banerjee
“I thank each one for their support and acknowledgement. We take note of their valuable suggestions and are committed to working overtime to resolve their grievances to an extent possible in an expeditious manner,” the chief minister wrote on Twitter.
Besides the possibility of direct communication with her, the extensive phone-and-Internet public outreach involves initiatives such as 1,000 elected party representatives spending at least one night each at 10 villages over 100 days. This move will cover 10,000 villages — about a fourth of the state’s total.
Kishor had come up with the initiative in the wake of the general election setback for Mamata’s party in Bengal.
After the BJP won an unprecedented 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats and secured leads in 121 of the 294 Assembly segments, Mamata engaged the professional services of Kishor, national vice-president of the JDU who also runs the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC). The consultancy makes ground-level assessments of public mood to help a client decide its campaign strategy and focus areas.
“Now, after a long time, we are setting the agenda and forcing the BJP to react and play the catch-up game,” said a senior Trinamul leader.