‘Kaam Bolta Hai’ for ‘UP Ke Ladke’ in Samajwadi Party’s War Room
‘Campaign is positive, doesn’t troll adverse opinion & is reflective of CM’s character’ CM Akhilesh is said to be hands-on when it comes to campaign strategy
Lucknow: Live streaming on Facebook of CM Akhilesh Yadav’s rallies, a ‘sentiment analysis’ tool to assess audience reactions, 10 youngsters back from the US with lessons fromHillaryClinton’scampaignand a war room led by four ‘UP Ke ladke’ — this is how SP is driving its electioneeringinUP,seekingtooutdothe BJP’s publicity machinery.
One of five teams with multiplecamera set-ups is always positioned at each of the CM’s rallies to provide the feed that is streamed live on Facebook, akin to what the BJP does for PM Modi’s speeches. Yadav is expected to address almost 300 rallies byMarch6evening.Atthewarroom in Lucknow, four youngsters from the state are running the show — exBBC employee Ashish Yadav is in charge, ‘Piku’ lyricist Manoj Yadav pens campaign songs, Gozoop CEO Ahmed Aftab Naqvi is the chief digital strategist and Fullbright fellow from Harvard University Anshuman Sharma handles research.
“Our digital content has crossed over500croreimpressionsbytheend of phase one. We reach more than 25 lakh people daily on WhatsApp. It is a positive and development-focussed campaign,” Naqvi said.
The party is also aggressively pushing the ‘Kaam Bolta Hai’ theme on Instagram, YouTube, third-party websites and mobile applications. Some of these strategies have come fromtheUSexperience.Partyspokesman Sharvendra Singh was among the 10 people who were in Ohio from September to November, volunteering with the Clinton campaign.
“Calling up people, preparing data, media management, social media campaigns and door-to-door campaigning — we did it all,” Singh said.
Nidhi Yadav, SP candidate from Handia, and spokespersons Nasser Salim and Pankhuri Pathak were also part of the group that spent time in the US. Ashish’s team is focussed on pre-rally research and post-rally feedback, sentiment analysis via an online tool after each campaign and briefing party spokespersons.
“AfteraCMrallyisover,ourworkers speaktopeoplepresenttheretoassess what rang a bell with the crowd. Lately, Dimple Yadav’s message to voters in Agra to vote for their ‘Akhilesh bhaiya’ and the CM’s words that hedoes‘KaamKiBaat’andnot‘Mann Ki Baat’ like the PM attracted huge traction. We send such daily reports to the CM,” Sharma told ET.
The ‘sentiment analysis’ tool maps theresponsetofreshcontentreleased by the party. “This proprietary tool helps in predictive analysis and getting smarter,” Naqvi said. Ashish stresses the “campaign is positive, doesnottrolladverseopinionorcriticise other parties on a personal level and is reflective of CM’s character.”
Ashish, 36, hails from Jhansi and is the oldest member in the war room. Heworkspro-bonolikeSharma,who is from Bulandshaher. This team coordinates with Congress strategist Prashant Kishor for the joint rallies, roadshowsandpressmeets.“Wehave many PKs,” an SP leader quipped.
Manojsayshisbrief wastofocuson the CM’s development work. “Kaam Bolta Hai is a fantastic punch line — something akin to the impact BJPs ‘Achhe Din’ line in 2014,” a senior SP leader said. Democratic Party advisor Gerald Austin had told the CM that voting patterns have changed and “people may well vote for a leader looking just at the rim of his eye,” a senior SP leader told ET.
Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, Anshuman Sharma, Manoj Yadav and Ashish Yadav (From L to R)