The Delhi battle has always been fought with a lot of zest, but this time, the weapons of parody, humour and memes have been brought out. The Aam Aadmi Party has decided that they are going to go, what AAP IT media head, Ankit Lal, calls "full blown" on social media.
"We know that social media is mostly used by people between the age group of 18 and 35. But we have realised funny content can go far beyond that," Lal said, explaining why the party has decided that communication is no longer going to be limited to campaigns, and posters. "All this while our communication with the voters have been bland-- it was mostly data-based communication," Lal said. Lal, who has been heading the AAP’s IT team since 2013, said that videos are drawing "ten-fold audience", unlike 2013 and 2015.
But, this isn't new. "We started being wacky on social media during the Lok Sabha elections and it worked for us," Lal said. This time, for Delhi elections, AAP has notched their meme game level a tad higher. There are two reasons why AAP has taken humour to the forefront, said Lal. "My team is good at it, and the BJP cannot respond to it because they lack a sense of humour," he said.
Soon after the party launched their official campaign song, "Lage raho Kejriwal", the posted a short, satirical clip, captioning it, "The campaign song ‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’ is so good that even Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari is grooving to its beats."
A very popular commercial from the 90s in which two brothers (BJP and Congress, in this spoof) try to unsuccessfully bring down a wall was given a hilarious, political twist. It ended with the chief minister's face appearing as the logo for the cement brand and likened him to the wall that never breaks.
The caption read, "Kejriwall".
The Congress hit back tweaking another paint commercial that had featured Irani in which he praises his son in front of his prospective daughter-in-law for being a “double M.A” and speaking with cab drivers in English. But she tells him that his house behind him seems “fourth class fail.” When the likely bride says, “Daddy ji aapka ghar toh chauthi fail lagta hai (your house looks class four fail), the voiceover, with ‘Kejri Wall’ written in the background, says, “If there are cracks and fungus in your home, we present Indian National Congress which is two times jumla-proof and two times hypocrisy-proof, meaning double protection.” AAP shot back, with a still from, well, Gangs of Wasseypur. “Well tried but..,” ‘beta tumse na ho payega (Son, you will not be able to do it).’ The BJP also came out with its parody version of the Ambuja advertisement, naming the two brothers - Kejriwal and Kanhaiya Kumar and the wall between them as Rashtravaad (nationalism). Hitting out at the BJP, the AAP tweeted, “So much effort to ridicule one man. Is this all you got? PS: Boring content. If you need any advice on content or satire please get in touch with us.” Throughout the AAP's Twitter timeline-- a lot of the pop culture references are from the 90s.
Who will contest against Arvind Kejriwal ?@BJP4Delhi leaders : pic.twitter.com/CkDT5AYHDa — AAP (@AamAadmiParty) January 10, 2020
Then there's Shah Rukh Khan from 'Kal Ho na Ho' reading a blank page. For AAP though, they found yet another way to take a dig at Manoj Tiwari, Delhi BJP President.
In a series of tweets, the party took a dig at the BJP for not naming a Chief Ministerial candidate. But of course, all of them were laced with humour.
When we asked @BJP4Delhi who's their CM candidate ? pic.twitter.com/SFwl9NDxwq — AAP (@AamAadmiParty) January 8, 2020
One tweet read, "Kya aapki party mein CM face hai?"-- picking on the popular tagline from a toothpaste commercial, "kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai?"
Soon after the Delhi Assembly Election dates were announced, AAP tweeted, “Delhi Elections 2020 Declared.... AAPvengers Assemble!” Perhaps, it gained them a few Marvel fans.
There's a 3,000 member team in Delhi who form the "eyes and ears" for the party. The ground volunteers are specifically tasked with spreading the centrally generated content down to the booth level. "The Tiwari video was forwarded to us by a volunteer. We don’t even know who actually created it," Lal said.
Lal, however, said that they haven't received a copy of the defamation notice that has reportedly been filed by the Delhi BJP, seeking Rs 500 crores in damage for showing Manoj Tiwari dancing to the tune of Aam Aadmi Party's campaign song. "We have not put out a morphed video. These are actual, real footages of Manoj Tiwari from his acting days. I don't know how it amounts to defamation," he said.
The AAP volunteers also act as the party's fake news filter. "A fake list of AAP candidates were doing the rounds of social media, even verified BJP handles had shared the post. It was brought to our notice only when a volunteer pointed it out," Lal said.
The average age of the AAP's social media team, Lal says, is 22 years. "And, we are funny," he adds. There are also 200 volunteers from across the globe to help with co-ordination and ideation of social media strategies for the political party.