#AAPHEW! | Amith Prabhu: Another election where Public Relations won

11 Feb,2015

By Amith Prabhu

 

It is easy to do a post mortem of an event but rarely possible to accurately predict outcomes before the event. The Delhi election, counting to which took place yesterday, was more historic than the 2014 watershed general elections. It was historic because in 2014 the incumbent was written off and the challenger was going full-steam. Here, in 2015 the victorious Aam Aadmi Party was written off and rose like a phoenix. It was the original incumbent in Delhi which resigned after 49 days in power. The President’s Rule in Delhi gave the national government an opportunity to make an impact but they got most things right. I’m not even making a reference to the other grand old party of India because lesser said the better.

 

What did BJP do wrong that led to a massive victory for AAP with a vote share of 54%. The list is long but let’s pick out the key factors:

a) BJP ran a negative campaign both externally against the opponent and internally with long standing party members. There is no scope for negativity.

 

b) BJP imported its CM candidate at the eleventh hour thus creating unrest in the party. There is no scope for haphazard parachuting.

 

c) BJP’s leadership allowed the likes of Sakshi Maharaj to spew venom and other sister organisations ran a mindless campaign of reconversion and attack on places of worship. This is no more an option.

 

d) The BJP-led government invited the US President not expecting that his final speech in India and his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast would be without mincing words. This definitely played a role in the minds of undecided voters.

 

e) The famous million rupee personalised suit of the Prime Minister was the most ill-advised stunt from a man who has been following a playbook. The perception of being elitist was created.

 

The list can go on and on. But I’m only focusing on the key factors. Contrast that with the way AAP went about with its campaign:

a) They figured that ‘the early bird catches the worm’ and launched their campaign much before the election dates were announced, anticipating the event could come upon them anytime

 

b) The leader of the party did something very few politicians have ever done. He went about apologising for his ill-fated 49 day government. Imagine politicians in this day and age doing something like that!

 

c) They used the Arvind Kejriwal muffler which was otherwise ridiculed to their advantage. They ran a social media campaign to drive home the message that they were truly one like us.

 

d) They communicated right at every step of the way. Be it their manifesto, their focus areas, their candidates. They did it with élan.

 

e) Last but not the least, they managed to recapture the imagination of the ordinary folks, the common citizens despite all the odds being stacked against them.

 

And they did something very basic. They did ABCD: Aimed (to make a difference), Believed (that nothing is impossible), Committed (to the cause), and Dreamt (really Big)…

 

In simple terms, they did what Public relations is supposed to do. They organised well, they engaged with the audience, they communicated strategically and built a formidable reputation that got more than half of those who voted to vote for them. They not only won, but Public relations won, as well.

 

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