The bright, young interns of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have helped the party to gain more on-ground presence, use social media tools in a more effective way and carry out surveys and research.
And it is a win-win situation for all. While the interns got hands-on political training, the rookie party got more teeth for the electoral battle.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in an autorickshaw during a visit to Tughlaq lane slums in Delhi. (HT Photo/ Sunil Saxena)
Dinup Mathew, who is monitoring AAP's internship programme, said, "From April to July, we had eight batches, each interning for 15 days. We had more than 150 interns, including students from IITs and IIMs. They helped us generate on-ground presence in areas such as Vishwas Nagar. They involved students through activities such as youth parliament."
Using the data of the past three assembly elections in Delhi, the interns profiled each of the 70 seats politically, economically and demographically, which helped candidates in planning their campaign better.
"We gave some of them access rights to our Facebook pages. Being young, they handled our social media tools in a much better way. For instance, they gave our Patparganj page a better structure," Mathew said.
On their part, the interns found it a fascinating experience."I started my internship on May 31 and was assigned to carry out surveys and research in the high-profile New Delhi seat, where AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal will take on Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on her home turf. It was a great experience," said Pradeep Agrahari, an intern.
The party has decided to extend the experiment. Manu Mohan Pillai, AAP state executive member in Mumbai, said, "The first batch of interns in Mumbai will start from November 15. A new batch will join on the 1st and 15th of every month till February 2014. For each batch, we need 30 candidates for the month-long programme. We have got 300 applications, including those from various IITs."
The interns will learn how AAP uses surveys and referendums to know public mood and work with teams engaged in branding, analysis and scam expose. "Accommodations are needed only for 10-15 candidates, mostly IITians. This will be taken care of by our volunteers," he said.