The Campaign Lens: Arun Jaitley

The Campaign Lens: Arun Jaitleyfeatured

I travelled to Amritsar in the first week of April to observe Arun Jaitley’s maiden Lok Sabha election campaign. It was the early days of his campaign, but Amritsar had already become one of the most keenly watched contests of these elections.

Jaitley has been pitted against the colorful former Punjab chief minister, Captain Amarinder Singh. Their daily war of words that broke out on their personal blogs and on television shows has been one of the most entertaining aspects of this election. Jaitley’s cleverly worded poll pitches and Singh’s irreverence (he routinely refers to Jaitley as “that chap”) make for a very interesting contrast.

As a photographer, I was most interested in observing how Jaitley was dealing with the rough and tumble of electoral politics. We are all used to hearing him in debates and issuing eloquent statements on behalf of his party, but does he have mass appeal as a leader? This was the question I was looking to answer.


Jaitley for Wb001Arun Jaitley, after addressing a public gathering at his newly inaugurated campaign office in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb002A space from Khanna Smarak showing BJP president, Rajnath Singh.

Jaitley for Wb003BJP supporters at a public rally in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb004A young BJP supporter prepares to meet Jaitley at a public rally in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb005A painted switchboard from Khanna Smarak, Arun Jaitley’s campaign office in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb006A BJP supporter who has come to meet Jaitley waits at his office.

Jaitley for Wb007Breakfast is served at Khanna Smarak, Arun Jaitley’s campaign office in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb008A worker prepares to place a large cutout of Jaitley outside his campaign office in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb009Journalists wait for Jaitley to arrive at a press conference. Coverage and contesting of the elections is often male-dominated.

Jaitley for Wb010The scene at a public rally in Amritsar.

Jaitley for Wb011Jaitley during his election campaign in Amritsar.

Nitya Rao is an independent Indian photojournalist based in Boston.  She is interested in documenting political and human interest stories, and is currently traveling across India to capture the mood of the country as it conducts its 16th Lok Sabha election. Her aim is to create a traveling exhibit, which will illustrate the changing face of politics in India. Nitya has worked as a reporter for Outlook, The Indian Express and Thomson Reuters, and holds a Masters degree in Photojournalism from Boston University. To find out where she’s heading next follow her @niftyindex

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