Kejriwal's staggering comeback in Delhi: What worked for AAP?

Communication experts recount AAP campaign strategies that wooed Delhi voters to give Kejriwal a landslide win

e4m by Priyanka Mehra and Aditi Raval
Updated: Feb 11, 2015 10:01 AM
Kejriwal's staggering comeback in Delhi: What worked for AAP?

Aam Aadmi Party has risen from the ashes like the phoenix to win by a landslide number of 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi state elections, stopping BJP in its tracks. After his short stint as CM and an impulsive resignation, and subsequent apologies to the people of Delhi, Kejriwal has achieved what many thought was unlikely to happen the second time around.

The campaign included massive apologies to the people by Kejriwal and two catchy slogans that attracted voter’s eyes, “Dilli Kahe Dil Se, Kejriwal Phir Se” and “Paanch Saal Kejriwal”.

Dilip Cherian, Founder, Perfect Relations says AAP kept it simple. “ It made up for its lack of financial clout of its bigger rivals with many low-cost innovations like flash mobs at street corners, distributing cards bearing AAP bearing simple messages in the Metro and buses, etc. to maintain visibility as well as contact with voters. Committed volunteers and crowd sourcing, clear messaging and a positive campaign helped the party take on the Goliath and register a resounding and historic win.”

Kejriwal, who has always portrayed himself as a change agent that India needs, drove a positive campaign, focused on addressing problems faced in Delhi.

Brand expert Haresh Bijoor says, “AAP maintained dignity and got through. That was refreshing. If you watched the television debates the AAP spokesperson was most dignified to them all. They would smile. They would think. They would answer. Amidst all the din and noise as well. This is a big differentiation from the communication cackle that is politics.

The second big thing, AAP believed more in communication with the voter as opposed to the  format of the rest. At the grassroots level they were the best communicators.”

Pitchfork’s Founding Partner Jaideep Shergill says about AAP, “They stuck to their key messages. They were consistent and they were able to bring up the core issues.”

AAP ensured the people of Delhi that they had a blueprint for everything that they planned to do if chosen into power. They insisted on compassionate capitalism which stood out from cronyism that people are wary of. It was not a personality-driven campaign like BJP.

Political pundits also claim that Kejriwal took a leaf straight out of Modi’s book, and engineered a campaign that took advantage of people’s anti-incumbency sentiment. Kejriwal also wooed the voters by offering free Wi-Fi across Delhi, women’s security and jobs for the youth.

AAP used extensive onground campaign strategies which included street campaigns and effective use of OOH. They also conducted flash mobs or nukkad nataks which was a unique way of catching people’s attention. The party also innovated in many ways, for example, volunteers would hold banners on the flyover to communicate their message across the ongoing road traffic. There were hundreds of volunteers that ensured the party’s presence in every street and corner of Delhi.

Paresh Chaudary, CEO of Madison PR comments, “Connecting to the grassroots with a honest face, excellent crisis communication skills (resigning from CM’s post in 2013),  appealing to the large middle-class with a conviction of bringing in real changes in administration, consistency in key messaging by spokesperson across his Cadre made the communication sharper and effective.”

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