Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) was established in February 2015 and is India’s first cross advocacy group for elections. The group took the task of rebranding Nitish Kumar and re-instating him as the Chief Minister of Bihar in 2015 Bihar Assembly Polls. I-PAC not just strategized and implemented the campaign by providing 360 degree campaign management services, but also set the Governance agenda for the new Bihar government.
To kick start Nitish Kumar’s election campaign in Bihar, I-PAC team launched Phir Ek Baar Nitish Kumar – a campaign slogan that brought Nitish Kumar back into the political limelight and announced his Chief Ministerial bid. Yellow hoardings mushroomed all over the Patna skyline and yellow posters/stickers/pamphlets became ubiquitous in the state with one key message: Phir Ek Baar, Nitish Kumar. Six variation of this key message were conceptualized targeting the different audiences, along with a missed call number and a call to action for voters to connect with this campaign. As a first mover in the campaign, with this slogan, the public narrative gravitated towards the leadership of Nitish Kumar, thus setting the agenda for the election. It also led to the ‘hoardings war’ as the message occupied Patna skyline and helped rejuvenate the party-workers, influence mind space of the media, the opposition and most importantly, the voters. A call centre was set up that started profiling samarthaks (supporters) of Nitish Kumar who would call on the number.
Har Ghar Dastak (a knock on every door) conceptualized by I-PAC was the largest structured door to door campaign which helped JD(U) connect with people for the first time in the Bihar Assembly Elections. It was flagged by CM Nitish Kumar on the 2nd of July in Paschim Darwaza area of Patna. It was then simultaneously launched at 10,000 locations in Bihar. The campaign’s premise ‘Ek Karyakarta, Dus Dastak. Ek Sandesh, Har Ghar Tak’ helped JD (U) reach out to over 1 crore households all over Bihar within a span of 10 days through the mobilization of 10 lakh karyakartas thus making them poll-ready. Stickers were pasted at each doorstep with due permission to leave a mark of reassurance of Bihar’s continued development journey in the coming years.
The campaign was crafted around four points of discussion- Has Bihar witnessed Vikas or progress in the last 10 years? Have you as an Individual or your community benefited from it? Has this development been orchestrated by Nitish Kumar? If yes, then Phir Ek Baar Nitish Kumar!
To build upon Phir Ek Baar Nitish Kumar, Bihar mein Bahar ho was conceptualized as a campaign which brought home the message that prosperity in Bihar was possible only under Mr. Nitish Kumar’s leadership. To this effect an official campaign song was launched- Bihar mein Bahar ho Nitishe Kumar ho. The lyrics of which communicated the development experienced by the citizens of Bihar. The song was popularized through ringtones, CD’s, digital platforms via downloadable content, rallies and other on-ground campaign vehicles.
The Jhansaa campaign was Nitish Kumar’s flagship counter campaign designed by I-PAC and used across relevant mediums to target the opposition.
Coined as Jhanse Me Na Aayenge, Nitish Ko Jitaayenge it exposed and highlighted unfulfilled promises by the opposition during their campaign rallies. The campaign primarily focused on collaterals such as door stickers, mobile stickers, pamplets etc. as well as outdoor publicity materials such as hoardings, advertisements, both digital and radio, that informed the electorate of the opposition’s false propaganda and implored them to use their judgment wisely when electing their state government. News paper vendors, willing rickshaw pullers and chai shops were roped in to sensitize their customers about the campaign.
Envisioned as an e-version of Nitish Kumar’s JantaDarbar, Nitish Connect was yet another platform where internet users in Bihar could submit their grievances to Mr. Nitish Kumar directly. Linked to his personal FB account, NitishConnect mobilized more than 1 lakh users digitally.
#AskNitish launched in July 2015 was an interactive platform for Twitter and Facebook users to engage with CM Nitish Kumar and ask him questions on Bihar, elections and governance. The CM responded to these questions on a weekly basis. More than 50 questions were answered per week. #AskNitish ensured direct access to the Chief Minister and gave people a chance to share their concerns and express their opinions. In the later stages #AskNitish became the platform for Twitter interviews where prominent journalists and national editors from various media organizations conducted live interviews with the CM on Twitter.
I-PAC conceptualized and launched Shabd Wapsi campaign on the 5th August 2015 as retaliation to an attack on Nitish Kumar’s DNA at the Muzafarpur rally. Shabd Wapsi campaign was launched on the 5th of August, when Mr Nitish Kumar wrote an open letter to Modi requesting him to withdraw his statement DNA campaign hit the ground with stalls springing up all over Bihar collecting hair and nail samples with key message “Mai Bihari hun, hamare DNA mein koi kharabi nahi hai. Shak hai to jaanch kara lo” (I am a Bihari, there is nothing wrong with our DNA, If you have any doubts, then test them), Sent to the Prime Minister’s residence in Delhi. Over 50 lakh samples were collected all over Bihar.
Swabhiman rally was the one and only rally addressed by the Mahagathbandhan or the grand alliance together in Bihar before the polls. I-PAC helped in preparation and smooth execution of the rally. Swabhiman rally announced the arrival of JDU-RJD-and Congress grand alliance, and assertion of the Bihari Pride. The key message delivered was “Ye jung hai pehchan ki, Bihar ke swabhiman ki”. All the allies of Mahagathbandhan together addressed the Swabhiman Rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on the 30th of August. More than 8 lakh people attended the rally with crowd spilling on to the streets. Swabhiman rally set the political tone for the election by showcasing the Mahagathbandhan or Grand alliance as a united leading force in the electoral narrative.
A one of a kind initiative, where for the first time, governance agenda of a Chief Ministerial candidate was taken door to door in a structured and organized manner across the state. The message of Nitish Nitchchay was mounted on more than 5000 cycles that travelled across Bihar. Volunteers took CM Nitish Kumar’s message to every household and urged people to show their support by dialing in a toll free number. The cycles were adopted to reach the remote areas of the state. Also for the first time, women volunteers used cycles to campaign in Bihar.
Swabhiman Raths were LCD/GPS enabled video vans equipped with campaign message, and song that travelled across Bihar The raths arranged meetings in villages by displaying excerpts from the Swabhiman Rally, distributing campaign collaterals and engaging the villagers in a conversation over Nitish Kumar and Mahagathbandhan’s vision and agenda. Over 200 raths were travelling across Bihar, conducting 35,000 meetings and reaching out to over 50 lakh people during the campaign period. From design to route finalization and monitoring, I-PAC team managed it all.
As a result of I-PAC’s intense on-ground presence and feedback systems, key issues affecting the people of the state were reported to Nitish Kumar which led to the launch of Nitish Nishchay – a 7 point agenda (Nischay) for Bihar’s development promised by CM Nitish Kumar himself, A personal commitment to improve the lives of people of Bihar, Nitish Nishchay was a pledge that, if elected, Nitish Kumar would implement on mission mode.