Just two years ago, Avinash Iragavarapu was busy preparing the strategy for YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh. At the time, this IIM-Lucknow graduate would have perhaps never thought that two years later he would be instrumental in the election victory of the world’s most powerful political leader – the US President.
On November 8, Republican candidate Donald Trump thumped his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to become the 45th US President. And it happened because of a carefully planned political strategy.
Iragavarapu was a part of Trump’s campaign team, working as the Executive Director for the Arizona Republican Party.
He hails from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh and has a political background – his grandfather was involved in politics at the local level.
In a conversation with DNA, the 30-year-old Iragavarapu said that it was his interest in studying machinations of politics that inspired him to quit his job at HCL and campaign for YSR Congress during the General Election in 2014.
That exposure helped him understand the battleground – the voters, their needs, the equations, etc. That same year, he went to the United States on a holiday to spend some time with his wife who works at Intel in Chandler, Arizona. And it was here that he got an opportunity to help with the election campaign of Doug Ducey, a Republican.
That year, because of a tireless data crunching and accurate analysis of Iragavarapu, Ducey went on to become the Governor of Arizona defeating Fred DuVal. And with that took off Iragavarapu’s remarkable career graph from that of a data director to the executive director becoming the in-charge of the campaigning in Arizona.
It was as executive director that Iragavarapu met Donald Trump. The Indian from Andhra Pradesh has only words of praise for the now President of the United States.
He had, in an earlier interview, said that Trump is very open to suggestions. He had also said that Trump is against illegal immigration only and not immigrants such as him, who he “welcomed with open arms”.
In a recent interview, Iragavarapu said that Trump was losing the battle against Hillary Clinton because of the media campaign and the celebrities against Trump. But 45 days before November 8, the Trump campaign changed its strategy. Iragavarapu was present on the day the new strategy was formulated.
The new strategy was to shift focus from Trump’s strengths to Hillary’s weaknesses – and there were many of the former Secretary of State.
Iragavarapu said that it was this shift, in which the Trump campaign highlighted all the problems that could arise if Hillary became the president, which did the trick. The tide turned in Trump’s favour.
He also said that it was Shalabh, the president of the Hindu sangh who supported Trump, who gave the idea of ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’. Trump used that famous phrase – a version of Modi’s ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’ slogan – to woo the Indian American community and the Hindus. It appears that the slogan that proved lucky for Modi also worked its charm on Trump.
Trump has become the US President, but Iragavarapu is not resting. He will back preparing the campaign for John McCain, who is running for the Senate from Arizona plus nine Congressional districts that head to polls.