The 2020 election campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which according to the early trends and leads was confirmed to return to power in Delhi, had some great prime markers. The prime markers include report card of the government and a crisp guarantee card for the future, town hall gatherings, intense use of social media leading to a virtual war over memes and parodies with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and a unique campaign song to resonate across all constituencies.
AAP had contested six elections in the national capital – two Lok Sabha polls, three assembly polls, and one municipal election.
This was the first time they involved a professional election strategist in the form of Prashant Kishor and his agency I-PAC, which has a track record of making BJP win by campaigning for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and leaders such as Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
The report card idea came around November and had drafted a plan for a thorough door-to-door drive covering 3.5 million households. The report card had a list of achievements attained by the Aam Aadmi Party.
Along with it, the party had its own campaign song, “Lage Raho Kejriwal”, created by Bollywood composer and self-proclaimed Kejriwal supporter Vishal Dadlani.
In the roadshows, a large number of people across all constituencies could be seen dancing to the song that endorsed “Brand AK” even though, in many cases, it emerged that they did not know the party’s candidate from the seat, especially on the 23 constituencies in which new faces were fielded.
While the war that was fought on the social media front clearly saw Aam Aadmi Party playing on the front foot, Ankit Lal leading the social media team took digs at the BJP, its leaders such as party president Manoj Tiwari, and the Congress.
The content addressed a wide array of things- popular films and songs, to popular advertisements, to Web trends, to the Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros.
At the forefront was a 23-year-old media studies graduate, Abhijeet Dipke from Pune.
The Shaheen Bagh protests grabbed centre stage and the BJP lost no time in making it a campaign pitch, openly attacking the AAP, and with that, changing the discourse of the campaign, which, till that point, was focussed on core development and welfare issues.
“That caused a delay in the manifesto, which the AAP was supposed to release on January 19. So, on that day, the party released a guarantee card instead. It was a document assuring voters that the Delhi government’s work on certain areas would continue unhindered if the AAP is voted back to power,” said a senior party leader