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Ahead of polls, AAP ties up with Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC

There has been speculation about AAP and I-PAC tying up for almost three months. AAP had reached out to Kishor after the Lok Sabha polls, but things could not move forward, another source said.

Written by Mallica Joshi , Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Published: December 15, 2019 5:04:36 am
Party chief Kejriwal announced the tie-up on Twitter Saturday

The Aam Aadmi Party joined hands with Prashant Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) Saturday, ahead of assembly polls in Delhi next year.

“Over the next few days, a couple of campaigns will be launched to galvanise the cadre and get boots on the ground. Elections cannot be fought based on goodwill alone. A small team of I-PAC has already arrived in Delhi,” an AAP functionary said.

According to an AAP source, I-PAC will be involved in managing the political campaign and funding.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the collaboration on Twitter. “Happy to share that Indian PAC is coming on-board with us. Welcome aboard!” he tweeted.

Responding to his tweet, the I-PAC twitter handle wrote: “After Punjab results, we acknowledged you as the toughest opponent that we have ever faced. Happy to join forces now with Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.”

I-PAC is a political advocacy group that has managed and run election campaigns of several different political parties, including BJP (2014 Lok Sabha elections) and Congress (2017 Punjab assembly elections). Kishor, who founded the body, is the Janata Dal (United) vice- president, but has spoken out against his party leadership for supporting the BJP on the new citizenship law.

There has been speculation about AAP and I-PAC tying up for almost three months. AAP had reached out to Kishor after the Lok Sabha polls, but things could not move forward, another source said. However, over the past two weeks, there have been regular meetings between Kejriwal and Kishor, which were initiated by the latter, the source added.

AAP sources said Kishor is expected to join the party.

Over the last six months, there have been several changes in the second line of AAP leadership, especially in the team that is handling public perception.

An I-PAC insider said while it is natural that the strategies devised by the organisation vary from state to state, there are a few common threads that run through them.

However, the actual involvement of I-PAC depends on the level of space that the parties are willing to offer to its executives — either in terms of handling volunteers or the media.

“Simply put, we offer a wide range of services, which include almost everything when it comes to an election campaign. Ultimately, it’s about how much the party in question is interested in availing. The more they want, they more space they will have to cede, which in many cases doesn’t go down well with the established leadership,” the source said.

The AAP had recently launched its fundraising programme and I-PAC is going to be instrumental in that. That is one of the reasons that the party has tied up with them, the source said.

After leading the YSRCP to a landslide win in the Andhra Pradesh polls held earlier this year, the I-PAC is currently working with the Trinamool Congress. “In TMC’s case, the I-PAC is controlling a lot, right from the campaign that involved a dedicated helpline for people to register grievances, to chalking out the party’s positions on various topics and keeping the spokespersons on a tight leash,” a source said.

Denying any commercial agreement between the two sides, the AAP Saturday claimed that the I-PAC was working for it voluntarily.

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