Rekha Sharma, 42, a resident of Khirki Extension, is humming the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) election jingle, ‘paanch saal Kejriwal’, while she gets ready for office. She is not a big supporter of either the party or Kejriwal but can’t seem to get the jingle out of her head.The party’s early start to the campaign—they started in the second week of November —has given them an edge over other parties, in terms of mind space at least.
It is the only party to have declared the names of all 70 candidates by January 2. The first list came out on November 13. The candidates have been campaigning in their constituencies every day. With political parties getting just 23 days to campaign, the party’s early start seems to have given them a tactical advantage.
AAP leaders have been demanding elections in the city since February last year when the party filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the imposition of President’s rule in Delhi.
“We were in election mode since the beginning of November itself. This is why we had announced the names of all candidates well in advance. Our campaigns have been working on various fronts. Door-to-door campaigns are in full swing as are projector shows in each constituency,” said AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena.
Projector shows, where a half an hour movie about the party is shown, usually attract 50 to 100 people. After the announcement of election dates, nearly 7,000 volunteers from other cities are expected to land in Delhi by January 21.
Celebrity members such as Vishal Dadlani, Gul Panag, Raghu, and Jassi Jasraj are expected to hold special meetings in several constituencies.
The party’s strategy is to focus on addressing a smaller number of people at one time. The focus, so far, also seems to be on rural areas, unauthorised colonies and slum clusters. Local MLAs and candidates have been meeting people every day to give the campaign a personal touch. Last time, the party had come up with constituency specific manifestos, something that other parties emulated.
“Party members and candidates have been addressing Jan Sabhas every day. By the time we finish, each constituency will have seen around 10 Jan Sabhas. Arvind Kejriwal himself has already addressed more than 3 lakh people. Our strategy, therefore, will not change with the announcement of elections. We welcome the announcement but will continue as before,” Atishi added.