Kejriwal now ahead of Modi in Varanasi: AAP strategist - HT

How difficult is this assignment compared to what you had to do in Delhi?

This is certainly a tougher battle. In Delhi, we had time to plan the whole campaigning--we had presence in Delhi. People knew us because of the Janlokpal movement and our protests over inflated electricity and water bills. It was a more urban setting. People could see us forming the government.

So what are your chances in Varanasi?

Very good. When we started our campaign, we were trailing behind BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi by two lakh votes. On Wednesday (April 16), our door-to-door campaign reached 80,000 of the 3.14 lakh houses in Varanasi and then we felt the margin had come down to 50,000. Today (Monday), we have reached 1.7 lakh houses and have reasons to believe that we're ahead by 50,000 votes. Our survey shows a large number of people do not like Modi. We need to win them over.

Is it all that simple?

About 1,500 persons are involved in door-to-door campaigning. It's all very scientific. All people may not be in our favour, but most of those we're visiting showing signs of support. It's a challenge to get Modi's supporters on our side. I was spot on with the margin in New Delhi. I'm sure my reading doesn't go haywire this time as well.

Compared to New Delhi, Varanasi is a much bigger place...

Yes, it is and we're dealing with it accordingly. There are five--three urban and two rural--assembly segments in Varanasi parliamentary constituency. Five persons have been given the job of winning them for us. They are Manish Sisodia, Dileep Pandey, Durgesh Pathak, Kapil Mishra and Gulab Singh. About 14 MLA candidates who successfully or otherwise contested the 2013 assembly elections in Delhi are here. So are many of our Delhi's campaign managers.

What's AAP's main strategy?

There are many. Campaigning has got aggressive. Kejriwal is essentially focusing on ( street) corner meetings and padyatras. Unlike other party candidates, he is also taking questions and responding to people. During the last five days of campaigning, he will do road shows and address big gathering. We hope Modi may not be able to spend much time in Varanasi because of his packed campaign schedule. This will help Kejriwal establish closer contact with locals.

What are AAP's strengths?

Our main strength is our 10,000 local volunteers. About 3,000 have registered themselves to come here from outside. We're also getting volunteers from Gujarat. When people in Varanasi hear the truth of Gujarat from the people of Gujarat, they would know the real Modi.

What are the major constraints?

We're a tad slow in door-to-door campaigning. By now we should have completed the first round. Our actual target is to be at each household at least thrice. Our budget does not allow us for big outdoor publicity campaign. We will be spending Rs. 25 lakh-Rs 30 lakh. Unlike Delhi, there are only five auto-rickshaws campaigning for AAP. It's very difficult to get permission from the administration. more  

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Well presented SWOT analysis

On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 2:30 PM, Vinita Agrawal <> wrote:

> more  
We had already assessed from very beginning that polarised support to Mr.
Modi by some well to do classes of society who have never proved equitable
to the downtrodden and minorities rather oppressive,politically oscillating
between Congress and BJP shall themselves provoke these weaker sections and
APP emerging as Saviour of all without regard to prejudices and sectarian
moorings shall benefit with as windfall.
The outstanding quality of AAP lead by Arvind Kejriwal and his associates
is characterised by Immaculate profile, Integrity, Selflessness, Patience,
Resilience, intellects, efficiency, performance and their proven
unbelievable governance of 49 days surpassing that combinedly by Congress
and BJP and above all their being aggressive against evils.
We are straining every nerve on our offices, surroundings, neighbours, even
during informal tet-a-tete with Chairmen and M.Ds of Limited Cos working
with us we find ourselves unhesitant to praise APP, though may be they are
biased against.

On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 2:30 PM, Vinita Agrawal <> wrote:

> more  
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