How to beat a powerful Incumbent !

On Twitter, Smriti Irani quoted a line by famous Hindi poet Dushyant Kumar, to celebrate the landmark moment, “Kaun kehta hai aasmaan mein suraakh nahin ho sakta.” Subrat Pathak described his win as a victory of the people of Kannauj. “This mandate is against Samajwadi Party’s atrocity, corruption and dynasty politics,”. While Afzal Ansari after his win said “The hollow nature of BJP’s vikas (development) was exposed in Ghazipur”.

The most incumbents who lost have neglected their constituencies, reneged on a promise, showed arrogance, ignored constituent requests for help by themselves or by their PAs and gatekeepers, been outspent or out-organized by an opponent, or faced an unfavorable caste-religious equations that made the turf favorable for their opponents.

Why challengers win and incumbents lose is but an art and a science as well as commerce. Because beating incumbents is never an easy task. Incumbents have far more name recognition than challengers and they can tap into additional resources for their campaigns. There are some lessons to share from Smriti Irani, Subrat Pathak and Afzal Ansari’s victory. Here are some of the key factors and steps they took that helped them to define and win their parliamentary election.  

  1. Be active on the constituency, From the summer of 2014 to the summer of 2019, Smriti stayed true to her words, making Amethi her home, finding a house for herself, fighting for the people and their welfare. Similar for Subrat Pathak and Afzal Ansari.
  2. Win unaligned caste’s swing votes,
  3. Position as a candidate who can deliver, present as a better candidate.
  4. Built the right capable team,
  5. Overall favorable local political environment.

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