With zero political experience, but strong academic background, two young graduates are working with the Trinamool Congress to do research work for the West Bengal Assembly elections beginning next month.
Sumedha Jalote and Piyush Gupta, both in their twenties, are working with party MPs Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay as part of a LAMP (Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament) fellowship.
Jalote holds a degree in economics and political science from Singapore Management University, while Gupta is an electrical engineering graduate from Thapar University.
“They are doing the back-end research work for us like comparing West Bengal’s performance with the national indices, compiling and analysing data on development work done in the state. All this will help us in poll campaigning,” O’Brien said.
Having joined the MPs last July in Delhi for a period of one year, both of them are now shifting to Kolkata to work on elections.
Gupta, who aspires for a job in public administration, said since he comes from a background of engineering, he could provide with non-partisan inputs and out-of-the-box ideas on various topics. “We study all developments related to the state very closely and how other candidates are devising their strategies. We then give our own inputs on how to influence public opinion in your favour with various strategies,” he said. Jalote said they were making research on various issues, which could figure in election debates. “When the leaders want to highlight a particular issue, we do the research work for them,” she said.
Keeping track of what is being reported in the media and what’s trending on social media would be another aspect of their work profile.
Derek said it was good for the youth as they were getting to work closely with political leaders to learn how the democratic system worked and elections were conducted.
In 2011, before the State Assembly elections, Trinamool had taken two interns from IIM-Calcutta to work on campaign strategies. Similarly, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls there were two IIM-C graduates interning with the party.