From a part-time volunteer to the communication in-charge of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in eight years — Vijay Nair’s rise within the ranks has been quick. But it was officially acknowledged only on Tuesday, hours after his arrest by the CBI in the excise policy case.
Nair is the first to be arrested out of the 15 people named in the FIR, which has Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as accused number 1.
The former CEO of Only Much Louder, an entertainment and event management company, Nair quit the role in 2017 – a year before he faced allegations of sexual misconduct during his stint at the helm.
His association with the AAP began a few years earlier, around 2014-15. “Between 2014 and 2018-19, his role was mostly limited to social media strategy, party events and fundraising. In 2019, however, things changed. He was the one managing the campaign from start to finish, he decided the messaging as well as optics,” said a party leader.
The Indian Express had interviewed Sisodia in August after his house was raided by the CBI, and asked him in what capacity Nair was associated with the party. At the time, Sisodia had said, “It is not about Vijay Nair. Their intent is to jail all the people associated with Kejriwal.”
Another party member said: “Nair has always preferred remaining behind the scenes, and the party has been on the same page. He was behind some of our smartest social media campaigns and posts. Then, in 2019, his role started to change. He went beyond social media and started advising the party on not just communication but also politics, campaigning , manifesto and policy matters.”
Sources said that following AAP’s resounding win in the 2020 Delhi polls, his stature in the party grew. “He is among the top tier of leaders in the party right now. He doesn’t want or need to be a member of the Political Affairs Committee (the highest decision making body of AAP) or an office under the Delhi government,” said a senior official.
Nair has served as the director of six companies — OML Entertainment Private Limited, Wasteland Entertainment Private Limited, Only Much Louder Event Management Private Limited, Motherswear Entertainment Private Limited, Bebblefish Productions Private Limited and OML Digital Production Private Limited. According to details available on the Registrar of Companies, the first two companies are still active but Nair stopped being the director in mid-2018. The remaining four have been “struck off”.
With OML, Nair was involved in big-ticket live music shows and festivals such as NH7 Weekender. OML also managed big independent musicians in the country.
According to sources, his footprint in the AAP is clear in several things – from the party and government’s media strategy to its more-business friendly policies aimed at revenue generation.
“Apart from the media strategy, he has also been looking at policy issues, especially where the involvement of the private sector is desirable,” said a source.