The election story is interesting…who wrote the script for Chandrababu Naidu's return in Andhra?

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read

New Delhi: Six months before the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu made an emotional appeal to the people to either bring his party to power or he would retire from politics. An emotional Naidu in Kurnool had said that only if you send me (and my party) to the Assembly, there will be development in Andhra Pradesh. Otherwise, this will be my last election. Then people felt that the political career of the 74-year-old TDP chief was about to end. They did not know that Naidu's party was going to perform its best ever in the 2024 elections.

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Wrote the script for Naidu's victory
The remarkable turnaround in Andhra Pradesh brought Naidu back to power with a landslide majority, winning 135 of the 175 seats. His party had been reduced to just 23 seats in the 2019 elections. While the senior politician is being lauded for leading the party's revival in the state, the inside story is that astute election strategist Robin Sharma played a key role in scripting the TDP's dramatic turnaround.

Robin Sharma is a disciple of Prashant Kishor, the poster boy of election strategists in India, who is credited with formulating the strategy for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign in 2014. Interestingly, when Show Time Consultancy (STC) led by Robin took up the task of reviving the TDP's sagging credibility in the state, his critics ridiculed it. But, the election results not only silenced the critics but also gave a big blow to the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy camp. The strategy for Jagan's camp was prepared by another disciple of Prashant Kishor, Rishi Raj Singh.

Also played an important role in AAP's victory in Punjab
Some of the notable campaigns included Idhem Kharma Man Rashtri, Bhadude Badhudu, Praja Galaam, Super Six and Naidu's son Nara Lokesh's padayatra called Yuva Galaam. This is not the first victory achieved by Robin's STC, formed after breaking away from Prashant Kishor-led I-PAC. Robin's team also worked with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) during the 2022 Punjab elections and ran an innovative campaign. The result was that the newbie party won a historic victory in the state while the veterans were left biting the dust. According to reports, he also coined a popular campaign song for AAP, Ek Mauka Kejriwal Nu, Ek Mauka Bhagwant Maan Nu.

For those who don't know, Robin and Rishi worked together in Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG). This is the same organisation that helped the BJP come to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. CAG was founded by Prashant Kishor before the 2014 elections. A year after the elections, both Robin and Rishi formed I-PAC with Prashant Kishor as the founding members. After some time, he broke ties with I-PAC and started his own political consulting firm called Showtime Consulting (STC).

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