11 reasons to believe that Aam Aadmi Party is set for a historic win in Delhi

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Jhadu is a strange contraption indeed. If unused a lot of filth piles up. However, if used, in a few strokes heaps and heaps of filth are swept away. In a sense that is the ‘Dharma’ of ‘ jhadu’, to send filth into its rightful place-the dustbin.

4th December is going to become a historical landmark for the country as India is going to witness a hurricane of jhadu strokes in the capital ridding Delhi of the great filth and squalor that has unfortunately accumulated over the years in the citadels of power. And (this needs to be read with the greatest attention) when media channels start streaming the results of Delhi on 8th December, surprisingly it will not be the Congress and BJP the most shell-shocked. They are street smart parties and already know the outcome (hence trying the most dirty tricks in their utter desperation with only negative impact on themselves).


In fact the most shell-shocked will be the media. Media is not known as the fourth estate for nuts. It is a powerful organ of democracy that not only reflects public opinion but also helps to develop it. However, for this it needs credibility built through integrity and an unflinching fidelity to the pursuit of truth. Two essentials conspicuously absent. The unseemly manner in which it has attempted to tarnish AAP, giving unabashed focus to slander campaigns and fake opinion polls in the false hope of antagonizing public perception( which only backfired) it has indeed everything to lose in case of an AAP landslide. And that is going to be the relentless nemesis of ‘karma’ on 8th December when even the remnants of their bleeding reputation are going to be torn asunder or to use a topical word-lacerated. In fact they would be well advised to go off air by mid-day on a false pretext of sun-outage. At least that will save then many agonizing moments of the mayhem that is going to occur in the electronic media on that fateful day.

As Delhi goes to polls in a couple of days the writing on the wall is clear. So clear that it can be seen by all and hence a reason of the last ditch acts of desperation of those symbiotically sustained by corrupt and criminalized systems. AAP is heading for a clean sweep in Delhi and here are ELEVEN reasons why.

Reason 1 – Time of Birth

There couldn’t have been a more opportune time for the birth of AAP. It almost seems like a cosmic conspiracy albeit a good one. There was a national outrage against corruption. When the parliamentarians reneged on their promise of the Lokpal Bill in spite of a sense of the house resolution, it shocked the conscience of the nation. What angered the masses more was the sheer apathy and heedlessness of politicians to the peaceful Gandhian approach of IAC through fasts and mass agitations when the national uproar against corruption was raging across the nation. People were now completely cut up by the thoroughly discredited political parties and craved for a political alternative. The ground for a new political outfit was well laid out. AAP’s birth was only natural. However, the cosmic conspiracy had grander designs. A flourishing start for AAP. Delhi state elections were only a year away. Delhi is a small state.

The AAP leadership was mostly Delhi based and knew it like their backyard. With the limitation of organizational, human and financial resources the timing of Delhi election was only a godsend. A small winnable state for which resources could be mobilized with some effort.

Well, as they say-the rest is —-. Time proved that AAP could mobilize the required resources within the timeframe with so much political acumen and professionalism that Arvind had to make a statement that no funds beyond 20 crores would be used for this election.

Reason 2 – The Master Strategy

It was obvious that fighting an election even in a small state like Delhi was no mean task. This election could not be fought through conventional strategies. Conventionally elections were fought through money, muscle and machinations of caste, creed and religion. But, it was precisely these nefarious ingredients that AAP swore to eradicate. The best way to win Delhi was to create a new turf that would be incompatible with the traditional Congress and BJP strategies. It was like a smart tortoise challenging the complacent hare to compete in water. The hare would stand no chance.

I cannot say whether it was by design or accident, however the strategy to market AAP (if I may be permitted to use that word) was based on many very effective marketing principles. Firstly, it followed the four-pronged marketing communication sequence:
  1. Awareness
  2. Understanding
  3. Acceptance
  4. Action
The first stage in marketing a service is to create awareness that something exists-in this case, creating awareness that AAP has been founded. The second stage is to make people understand what this service is all about. This stage answers the question –what Once people are made aware that now AAP exists the next stage is to make them understand what is AAP. Once people understand the service the next stage is to create acceptance by demonstrating that this service will fulfil their need. This stage answers the question how, that is how the service will fulfil their need. So, once people understand what AAP is, in the third stage acceptance is created by explaining to the people what AAP will do for the aam aadmi if it comes to power and how that will meet their needs. Once acceptance is created action by way of vote is a natural result (precisely what is going to happen on 4th December).
If one follows AAP’s campaign from February it will be observed that these marketing communication principles have been followed to the core and now victory is a foregone conclusion. As further points are elaborated it will be seen how AAP’s campaign has proceeded on the aforesaid professional marketing lines.

Reason 3 – The FMA Impact

FMA or First Mover Advantage can have an astounding impact on the market share and profits of a firm. What is FMA? This is another marketing term which has been lucidly described by Liberman and Montgomery as under:

“FMA is the ability of pioneering firms to earn positive profits. In the first stage an asymmetry is generated enabling the firm to gain a head start over rivals. First mover opportunity may occur because the firm possesses some unique resource or foresight. Once this asymmetry is generated a variety of mechanisms may enable the firm to exploit its position; these mechanisms enhance the magnitude or durability or both of first mover profits.”

Now apply this in the case of AAP. AAP created an impossible asymmetry in politics by establishing itself on ethical principles with a pledge to cleanse politics of the ills that that had infected it. It possessed unique resources in terms of leaders who had a spotless image coupled with great foresight of the solutions that would deliver a nation from the bondage of corrupt leaders and degenerated systems that had become instruments of exploitation of the aam aadmi. Arvind Kejriwal was known for an integrity which even his arch rivals could not dare to question. The agitations for the Jan Lokpal Bill had already given him sufficient visibility and had established his reputation as a relentless crusader against corruption. While few names were known in the top rung of AAP leadership, like Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Manish Sisodiya, Kumar Vishwas, Shazia Ilmi , Sanjay Singh, yet they had immaculate images and easy acceptability among the masses. The cancer of corruption and criminalization of politics was eating into the vitals of the country and this leadership was seen as completely different which could restore some prestige to politics which had become a hate word.

In fact there was a crying need in the country for an honest political alternative that could address the ills that were besetting the nation. AAP was able to address this need with a rare political sagacity. The agenda, the constitution, the candidate selection procedure the funding transparency, the elimination of dynasty were political landmarks that created so much asymmetry in the existing political field which simply left the other parties gaping while creating an understanding in people that AAP was truly the party of and for the common man. To establish a Political Party on sound ethical principles in the midst of the chaos of scams that were being serially exposed much to the shock and outrage of the public gave AAP a unique First Mover Advantage whose impact was almost impossible to counter by their adversaries.

Reason 4 – Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation, a term coined by Clayton Christensen, describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors. A disruptive innovation is one that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. And to slightly modify the words of Max Planc-‘ a new truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it’.

This is precisely what happened. AK created a disruptive innovation in the political market by challenging the existing political model of –‘Power through money and money through power.’ This model was so deeply steeped in the Indian psyche that anything else seemed an impossibility. You needed money to fight an election. Money would come through corrupt practices by abusing power and so the cycle would move on. AK destroyed this model by creating a new value network of volunteers. His message was so simple. This is your country. If you want good governance you need good politics. Good politics cannot come by hating politics and abstaining from the political process. Good politics can only come when good people participate in politics.

Simple message but it turned the old political model on its head. It started destroying the value network of established political parties. Volunteers started thronging AAP in droves. By conservative standards AAP has 10,000 full time and more than a lakh part-time volunteer slogging it out on the dusty streets of Delhi. Volunteers have come from not only the nooks and corners of the country but from all over the world. They have chucked their job, closed shop, taken leave, postponed studies or sacrificed vacations because AK’s call had touched their heart. For once people were finally convinced that an election can be fought within the expense limit set by the election commission guidelines and through clean money where the source of every pie is accounted for.

Reason 5 – Media Blackout: A blessing in Disguise

After the pol-khol(exposure) of the Ambani brothers by AK which was telecast live probably in November and Mukesh Ambani’s notice of defamation to media channels, there was a complete media blackout of AAP and AK. Unfortunately for them, this was such a wonderful blessing in disguise. Without a modicum of media exposure it is extremely difficult for a new political party to establish itself. However, media had turned almost hostile to AAP. Thus AAP was left with no option but to raise a huge brigade of volunteers and go for a mass contact programme. This turned out to be a trump card and as stated earlier volunteers flowed into its fold in torrents. In fact this was a turning point in India’s electoral history where AAP’a campaign became a truly people’s campaign, mostly managed by the volunteers themselves. The dastardly denial of exposure by the media created so much revulsion in the Facebook community that a number of FB groups were formed (all voluntarily) of which perhaps even the leadership was not be aware. I was myself a part of many such FB groups and it was amazing to see the spirit, the vigour, the creativity and effectiveness of the FB campaign.

Reason 6 – Head Start

Way back in March while the other political parties were in deep slumber, oblivious to the emerging political realities in their smug complacence, AAP took a head start in the political campaign for Delhi-such a head start that the Congress and BJP could never catch up in spite of their vast resources. It started with the mohalla sabhas in Feburary. The response was incredible. Where the organizers were hardly expecting a gathering of three to four hundred, people came in thousands. In some sabhas the gathering exceeded six thousand, an unbelievable accomplishment for such a sabha. One should have seen the photographs and videos of these sabahas on the AAP website to gauge the frustration and angst of the people with the existing political class.

On 23rd March AK sat on an indefinite fast in Sunder Nagri in protest against the inflated electricity and water bills. Delhi was taken by a storm. The volunteer power was unleashed in full fury. It was an invincible strategy. The protest touched a chord with the citizens of Delhi. In just one fortnight AAP volunteers were able to collect 10.5 lakh protest letters. Indeed, AAP had arrived on the political stage. This campaign created large scale awareness about the fledgling party which as stated earlier is the first stage of marketing communication.

The ‘bijli-pani’ rally on 28th April was a grand success demonstrating beyond doubt the organizing and mobilising skills of AAP; skills which would be used with amazing dexterity in the days to come.

Reason 7 – Selection of candidates

While AAP had started making headway into the bastions of Congress and BJP, these parties expectedly went into a state of denial. The procedure to select candidates was another disruptive innovation that endeared AAP to the electorate of Delhi, particularly to the middle-classes. It was totally transparent and truly bottom-up democracy. The procedure ensured that only people committed to serve their constituencies selflessly, having clean image and no criminal record would get the tickets. In fact AK openly declared that if any case with adequate proof was brought against an AAP candidate even a day before the election, his/her candidature would be cancelled. In keeping with the spirit of his declaration, the ticket of Rajouri Gardens candidate was cancelled because he had concealed a police case. This was something unheard of in elections in India.

By mid-June, AAP started releasing the list of its candidates after careful scrutiny of their image and credentials leaving the other parties way behind in the race for Delhi. This achieved two major objectives-it gave enough opportunity to the top leadership to plan, strategize and address their constituencies and also enough time to the candidates to build their team and resources to enable a personal contact with their electors.

Reason 8 – Market Segmentation and Target Marketing

Another innovation with killer effect was the way in which AAP used the marketing techniques of market segmentation and target marketing. Market segmentation is a marketing strategy that involves dividing a broad target market into subsets of consumers who have common needs, and target marketing is designing and implementing strategies to target their needs with the firm’s product or service.

The manifestos of political parties, far from being sacred documents had degenerated into meaningless reams of paper with little socially redeeming value. In fact even the political parties did not take them seriously or read them. However, the manifesto was a necessary evil hence had to be released.

AAP restored the sanctity to the manifesto. After all it was a sacred statement of intent of what the party would do for the electorate and was the true basis of appealing for votes. However, the tricks and tactics of winning elections of the traditional parties were different and had nothing to do with manifestoes. AAP not only reversed that, it came out with 70 manifestoes, each unique for every constituency and one for the whole of Delhi. After all the needs and problems of every constituency are unique so how can they be handled with a common manifesto? These manifestoes were not drafted in isolated chambers but through discussion with the respective people in open forums. Isn’t that a wonderful example of segmentation and targeting?

The success of this strategy can be gauged from the fact that BJP was compelled to imitate this and also promise a separate manifesto for each constituency. Imitation it is said is the best from of appreciation!

Reason 9 – ALL Versus AAP

We have observed that all major political parties rave and rant against each other-this after all is politics. They allegedly resort to slander campaigns, sting operations, paid media reports, fraudulent surveys against each other. Why do they do so? Because they acknowledge the standing of their rivals and feel threatened by their performance. AAP was a child in politics, not even a year old. According to Indian Express report last April, at last count, there were more than 1,400 political parties registered with the Election Commission of India. Does it not make you wonder that apart from AAP not one political party was at the receiving end of the Congress and BJP diatribes . In fact in the last Delhi election it was the BSP which had emerged as the third largest party with an impressive vote share of 14.5 %. Two of its candidates had even won. BSP must have built over that success in the last five years to challenge the two major parties this time. However, did you hear even one word against the BSP from the Congress or the BJP? Congress and the BJP had virtually united in their campaign against AAP. AK was charged with betraying Anna and misusing IAC funds. Recorded slanderous messages from unknown resources were sent to Delhi voters. AAP’s funding was questioned by no less than the union Home Minister and an enquiry ordered. AK was accused of having registered as a voter from three places. A fraudulent sting operation was managed which was savoured by the media and hogged prime-time.

And all this against a party not even a year old. Why were they compelled to do this? This is perhaps the best indication that AAP is sweeping Delhi. Congress and BJP are established political parties with vast resources at that command. They have sufficient presence on the ground and enough sources of intelligence to know the mood of the Delhi voter. Yes, they knew they were finished in Delhi. AAP was not just going to win but to trounce them. Both these parties were going to be shamed in this election. Delhi would be their graveyard. After denial and shock when this realization dawned on them, they forgot each other; they forgot BSP and in a state of desperation began to target AAP. The media was there to add fuel to the fire lapping up every canard and even the shards of untruth and relayed them without any qualms or scruples. However, in the process, it gave an incontrovertible indication that AAP was going to create history.

Reason 10 – C 3 Campaign

One of the most innovative campaign tools of AAP in the Delhi election was the C 3 or the Citizen’s Call Campaign. Hats off to the guy who conceived of this. A superbly brilliant idea that served two purposes- while it supplemented the AAP campaign, it also gave a fair idea of the mood of the Delhi voter and served the purpose of an informal opinion poll whose results(as I’ll soon show} are simply stupefying. In this campaign an eighteen lakh mobile number base of the Delhi voters was created. A software was developed where a volunteer could create his login id with password. Once logged in, the volunteer would get a screen where a mobile number could be requested. A training video with a calling script was attached which would enable even a novice to call in a few minutes. Once the call was over, the relevant result button on the screen could be clicked and this result would be added to the database. Volunteers were requested for this campaign and help poured in not only from India but all over the world including UK and USA.

At the time of writing this article the results are just mind-boggling:

  • Total calls made 135454
  • Not reached 58400
  • Undecided 16290
  • No to AAP 7197
  • Yes to AAP 53567 (69.5%)

Isn’t that really mind-boggling! 69.5% in such a vast sample say they will vote for AAP, notwithstanding the fact that 21% are still undecided. Which means that the percentage could go well above 75. If it really turns out this way, it means a clean sweep for AAP. Of course there are riders attached. This appears to be basically a middle-class database that is very favourably disposed to AAP. However, the results give a clear indication of the mood of the Delhi voter.

Reason 11 – ‘Jhadu’ – The Ultimate Brand

For a new political party the election symbol is of critical importance. In fact, if chosen indiscreetly it can even mar the prospects of a successful campaign. It was one of the many masterstrokes of AAP to choose ‘Jhadu’ as the election symbol. After all the twenty-first century is the Knowledge century where winning political strategies will be mind-based and not money or muscle based like those of the earlier one .The selection of ‘Jhadu’ as an election symbol was an intellectually profound decision and a great marketing move to give Aam Aadmi Party the status of a huge brand. In marketing brand is defined as a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one provider and to differentiate it from those of the competitors.

The brand is in fact more than the service provided as it adds the intangible images and usage occasions to the mind. By creating powerful user imagery it helps focus all communication giving an invincible consistency to a marketing campaign.

‘Jhadu’ is a potent symbol of cleaning up. It‘s mind recall is 100%. The symbol-party connect is just perfect. Its identification in a collage is very easy. It is very powerful in evoking user imagery and usage occasions easily flow into the mind. It is an item whose results are inevitably seen every morning whether at home or workplace. Hence when the voter sees the election symbols on the voting machine ‘Jhadu’ will have the greatest impact and will finally impel the voter to action. ‘Jhadu’ will live up to its ‘Dharma’ to perform a clean sweep. Do stay tuned on 8th December.

[PS- What does a clean sweep mean in an election in terms of numbers? Well, it means getting at least a three fourth majority. In terms of numbers that would by all available indications mean that AAP is heading for at least 52 seats.Surprized! OK. Don’t forget me on 8th!]

Written by Milan Kumar >>

Retired as a Trainer from L.I.C of India. Regularly follow politics and media developments.

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Indian Exponent: 11 reasons to believe that Aam Aadmi Party is set for a historic win in Delhi
11 reasons to believe that Aam Aadmi Party is set for a historic win in Delhi
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