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The faces behind successful campaigns

Meet the key strategists of the Congress, BJP and BSP – the men who ran the show from behind the scenes, report Anuradha Mukherjee and Moushumi Das Gupta.

delhi Updated: Nov 30, 2008 00:48 IST

They are the ones who worked behind the scene to ensure the success of their respective parties. Not only did they brainstorm for days to come up with the issues that their parties should project to connect to the people, they also planned the campaigning strategies.

Meet the key strategists of the Congress, BJP and BSP – the men who ran the show from behind the scenes.


Apart from Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, state Congress president Jai Prakash Aggarwal powered the party’s campaign in the city.

“I have stuck to my role as the state president, which is to ensure the Congress wins. I have never overstepped my brief,” said Aggarwal. “I deliberately kept a low profile.”

Aggarwal organised publicity material, distributing banners and flags and commissioned an advertisement campaign for the party, countering the BJP’s attack with the slogan Teen Tigara Kaam Bigara (Too many cooks spoil the broth) — referring to the three chief ministers the BJP appointed between 1993-98.

His biggest challenge, however, was controlling rebel leaders.

“Several leaders were upset at being sidelined during ticket distribution. MPs like Ajay Maken, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar are quite uninvolved in the poll campaign. But he managed to get them to participate in party events,” said a party insider.

Part of Aggarwal’s strategy team was OBC Commission chairman Chattar Singh. Singh had earlier represented the state Congress in front of the delimitation committee set up by the AICC. In this polls, he was responsible for handling all Election Commission related issues, apart from organising and collating data from different constituencies.

“This was the first election after delimitation. We needed a very careful analysis of the demographics in each seat as well as information on voters from one assembly seat getting added to another. This was needed for selecting candidates,” said Singh.

Bharatiya Janata Party

Arun Jaitley, BJP general secretary, took over the assignment of preparing the party’s election strategy for Delhi in the very early days after poll dates were announced in the Capital.

Party insiders said Jaitley was behind selecting BJP’s campaign tagline “Mehengi Padegi Congress.” He is also credited with the idea of making national issues like terrorism and inflation the main focus of the party’s campaigning strategy. “Delhi being the national Capital can’t turn a blind eye to these issues,” said Jaitley at a press conference.

Bahujan Samajwadi Party

Whoever attended the three massive rallies of BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in the Capital recently could not have missed the heavy built man in a white safari suit holding stage before the arrival of the BSP’s star speaker.

He was Naseemuddin Siddiqui, PWD minister in UP government. One of the most trusted lieutenants of Mayawati, he was made the incharge of preparing the party’s strategy for the Delhi polls.

“He was the man who was solely behind the huge success of Mayawati’s rally in the Capital. From zeroing in on the locations of the rallies to arranging the crowd – Siddiqui was involved in each and every detail,” said a BSP insider.