New Delhi: With an aim to keep up AAP’s Assembly strength, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has teamed up with Prashant Kishor’s consultancy Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) to manage its campaign ahead of the polls early next year.
The announcement on Saturday by party chief Arvind Kejriwal has come just weeks before his tenure as Delhi Chief Minister is to end.
The AAP had secured 67 out of 70 assembly seats in Delhi in the 2015 assembly elections and Kejriwal’s tenure will end in February 2020.
“Happy to share that I-PAC is coming on board with us. Welcome aboard!,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Kejriwal’s deputy and senior party leader Manish Sisodia responded to the tweet in Hindi, saying this time the party will get more than 67 seats.
The firm responded to Kejriwal’s tweet, saying: “After Punjab results, we acknowledged you as the toughest opponent that we have ever faced. Happy to join forces now with Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.”
While Kishor and his team could not be contacted for comment, according to the AAP sources, the two had been in talks from the past several months.
“We were in talks… The decision was finalised recently. We will soon roll out our election plan,” a party leader said demanding anonymity.
When asked why the party decided to go for Kishor, the leader said: “He and his firm have a track record of winning (elections). We know we will win the elections, but joining hands with successful people is no harm.”
The firm shot to fame after it had helped Narendra Modi and BJP win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Kishor helped Nitish Kumar in the 2015 Bihar Assembly Elections as well. He is now the vice-president of the BJP’s Bihar ally Janata Dal (United).
The political advocacy group was hired by the Congress for the 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections to help Amarinder Singh’s campaign. The Aam Aadmi Party came second in the elections.
Kishor was appointed as political advisor to Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in May 2017. In all the cases, Kishor and his firm had given positive results.
For the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, Kishor has joined hands with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu to help the parties in the state elections.
The BJP accused the AAP of wasting the “hard-earned” money of the taxpayer for its political campaign.
“They say they don’t have money. How did they manage to hire such a firm? They are wasting people’s money. If they had worked in the last five years, there was no requirement to do all this,” a BJP leader said.
AAP’s Raghav Chadha said the work done by the Kejriwal government is praised by all.
“The people or firm which comes with AAP works on a pro bono basis. The I-PAC will serve the party on the same basis. There have been no financial or commercial arrangements. They will give their services on a pro bono basis and as a volunteer of the party. The aim is that the hands of the Kejriwal should be strengthened and all good people should work in the nation-building exercise. We welcome Kishor and his firm for their support to the party,” Chadha said.