New Delhi : Behind AAP’s landslide victory in Delhi was a meticulously planned strategy, which involved several rounds of door-to-door campaigning, a new grassroot organisational structure led by 40,000 volunteers and a fool-proof media plan.
For starters, unlike the Lok Sabha polls when AAP was a big tent of conflicting voices, Arvind Kejriwal took full command for Delhi campaign. His first step was to strengthen its organisational structure, and Kejriwal put Ashish Talwar in charge of this initiative. Talwar appointed one volunteer for every polling booth, about 3,500 volunteers for each polling centre. They were reporting to 280 ward in-charges, who were under 14 district in-charges.
“There were 40,000 people running the show on ground,” Talwar said. AAP established a dozen frontal organisations focused on women, traders, m i n o r i t i e s , RWAs, youth and villages to take care of all stakeholders. Talwar said Kejriwal’s direct involvement in rebuilding of party structure helped the cause. In November, Kejriwal appointed a Delhi Election Campaign Committee of 15 people who would be the driving force behind his party’s fight against BJP.
AAP, which had set a modest budget target of `25 crore, decided to counter this by getting a headstart in reaching out to voters. It announced Delhi Dialogues, a platform to seek feedback from voters. It led to AAP’s 70-point manifesto. Kejriwal started holding public meetings from the first week of December. Manish Sisodia thinks AAP’s successful campaign to appraise voters of the work done by its 49-day government besides Kejriwal’s public apology for quitting abruptly were the biggest game-changers.
“We decided to not attack anyone personally. While Kiran Bedi called Arvind ‘toxic’, he kept referring to her as his older sister when BJP propped her up as the CM candidate,” said AAP leader Ashutosh. AAP leaders admit they were completely taken aback by the induction of Bedi into BJP. They simply had no strategy in place for what was considered BJP’s masterstroke. “Our experience with her told us once she starts speaking, BJP’s plans would start unravelling and that’s what happened,” added Ashutosh.
Media outreach was carefully planned. Ex-journalists Nagender Sharma and Deepak Bajpai were incharge of this and they would have a conference every morning at 9 am to discuss the top news stories of the day and decide the party’s stand on it. Kejriwal was more accessible to the media.