After the Lok Sabha polls, as AAP reeled under a crushing defeat, a small team of researchers and volunteers from political consultancy firm Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) quietly got to work, “gathering data and surveying the mood”.
A formal announcement came December 14, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeting: “Happy to share that I-PAC is coming on-board with us. Welcome aboard.”
“Ground work started around June (2019). We did work with the Congress during the Punjab Assembly polls, but since AAP was the principal challenger, we were in touch with them as well… We always had that mutual understanding, which later took a more formal shape. It’s not about whether they approached us or we approached them,” Rishi Raj Singh, director and co-founder of I-PAC, said.
“We are not the flag bearers of any party, our job is to channelise the energy of their cadre and, in a way, ensure the best return for an investment,” Singh said about the Prashant Kishor-led firm.
In Delhi, between June and November last year, I-PAC “did ground work and research”. “It is not just about the studying one does in the five days leading to the exam, but the classes one attends over the year,” Singh said.
Citing an example, Singh said I-PAC’s first contribution — the “achhe beete paanch saal, lage raho Kejriwal” slogan — came after an analysis of conversations on the ground: “The recurring phrases were ‘nahi yaar, actually paanch saal acche gaye, Kejriwal achha kaam kar raha hai, sahi aadmi hai’. The final slogan was an outcome of that exercise”. He added that composer Vishal Dadlani also weaved in the theme in the party’s campaign song.
The AAP then launched an extensive branding exercise around the theme. Subsequently, 15,000 personalised letters, bearing Kejriwal’s signature, were sent out to 15,000 influencers in the city, “including doctors, professors, businessmen and teachers”.
On the thought process behind the party’s adoption of the black-yellow colour theme, shelving its traditional blue, Singh said, “The colour scheme had no previous connection with AAP; that’s precisely why we used that. People used to think that saffron would be a BJP banner, blue would be an AAP one. The new colours helped us stand out amid the clutter.”