NEW DELHI: Ahead of the MCD election, all three political parties—AAP, BJP, and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC)—have geared up their strategy to promote their promises and bring out the shortcomings of the opposition parties. Each party has established a war room to oversee and manage the MCD poll strategy, and all parties hold press conferences on a regular basis.
The Sunday Guardian visited all three party offices to comprehend the ground scenario ahead of the election. This correspondent first visited the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office and found that there were no spokespersons available on Wednesday, only a few volunteers. Asked about the availability of any spokespersons, this correspondent was told, “MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak was available for a while and then left.” Most of the star campaigners are focussing on the groundwork. This correspondent also paid a visit to the war room of the AAP which is responsible for logistic management, nomination filing, candidate monitoring, booth management, social media campaign, monitoring the star campaigners managing the Jan Samvad initiative and so on. When this correspondent visited the war room, there were 3-4 people available during the afternoon. More than 30 members are involved and are divided between two shift-morning and evening, 8 hours each.
Press conferences are often conducted at different locations, but sometimes the press conferences get cancelled due to campaign affairs or so. Due to less number of members in the party, most of the spokespersons are busy on the ground and are available for a shorter period in the office premises. When this correspondent visited the office the next day, spokesperson Gopal Rai was available for a brief media interaction and then got busy with his election duties. This correspondent saw a group of volunteers, mostly youth, heading toward the office premises. Meanwhile, there was much activity at the BJP office as this correspondent saw a lot of media personalities talking to spokespersons. Unlike AAP, the premises of BJP Delhi is always crowded. On Wednesday, the press room was filled with spokespersons and media, interacting with one another. Every day, the party conducts two press conferences depending on the trending subjects with respect to MCD. A total of nine members are on the committee that is completely dedicated to planning the strategy ahead of the election. “Many senior leaders also visit the ground and show the condition of real Delhi. The poster concepts such as Delhi Ke Thug, Lootera and so on basically talks about the shortcomings of the AAP and their scams,” Rohit Upadhyay, state head of social media, BJP Delhi, told this paper. The campaigning of the party also highlights the positive development brought by the central government and PM Narendra Modi.
At present, the party is focussing on bringing the key issues to the public like pollution, education, liquor scam and health. The unit also has a separate section that looks into the matter of Nukkad Sabha. Around 250 shows are conducted every day and one team holds 7-8 shows per day for 12 minutes each. Along with the volunteers, students from NSD also participate in the Nukkad. The target audience is the lower middle class and lower class. Social media monitoring in the digital war room monitors social media activities going on. There are NaMo cyber yoddhas at each booth level.
Henceforth, the correspondent found two contrasting environments between AAP and BJP office premises. On Thursday, the correspondent visited the DPCC office and found that the party office was beaming with people as there was a press conference. As informed by DPCC insiders, the party holds two press conferences per day. The press conference in the morning discusses the shortcoming of the policies and in the evening, the party presents the promises before the media, if they win the MCD. The war room is on the fifth floor. The party merges the two war rooms, present at two premises—DPCC and South Avenue—into one war room in order to ease the work. This correspondent visited the DPCC war room and found five sections—Control room having four people looking into this, a legal and documentation room with two Congress lawyers, a Media monitoring room with three people, a Communication room with a team of four members and a Research and social media room with a team of 20 people. Altogether, there are approximately 30-35 people involved. The spokespersons are also available on the premises and some are busy campaigning on the ground. The party launched a theme song and flagged-off an auto rickshaw campaigning. The office was not as vacant as the AAP office, but not quite as bustling as BJP.