In an attempt to revive itself Aam Aadmi Party will be holding a US-style fund raising dinners for contesting the upcoming Delhi assembly election. AAP was formed with an objective of eliminating corruption and had last year managed to attract massive crowds during the member enrolment and fund raising campaign. However, the euphoria didn’t last too long as people started losing confidence in AAP ever since Arvind Kejrwal resigned from the post of Delhi Chief Minister. The fundraiser dinner with Kejriwal – the way it is done in western countries – comes at a price of Rs 20,000 per person which will go into party fund. By organising fund raising dinners AAP wants to promote transparency about their fund-raising activities.
The party is already facing paucity of funds after its poor performance in the Lok Sabha election. After the assembly elections in December 2013, the party has so far received more than Rs. 37 crore from more than one lakh donors. The party had received Rs. 20 crore as donations between November 2012 and November 2013. For creating awareness among people about the donation drive, AAP is tweeting online donors’ name with the hashtag #IFundHonestPolitics.
When we spoke to Preeti Sharma Menon, state secretary of Aam Aadmi party, she told this newspaper, “We have crossed 150 entries for the dinner with Kejriwal. All these donors are cold shoulder supporters of party and there are few new additions to it. This is our flag off fund raising drive. Even common people contribute towards the party’s development as some of them pay 10 rupees. Many NRI’s have come together to assist us for transforming the politics.”
When asked, why will Mumbaikars donate to AAP for elections in Delhi, Menon replied, “During the Delhi assembly election we collected 20 crores and apart from that 5 crores contributions came from Mumbai. Some volunteers have collected fifty lakhs.”
Her appeal to readers is, “If we have to change the politics, then we have to participate in the change. For that we need honest donations and accountability towards donors”.
The senior AAP leader said such fundraisers help in collecting big money whereas during door to door campaign donation is minimal.
“Both are important for AAP. We are also trying to work how corporates can come out openly and donate to us. Till now they have not been donating as they fear a backlash from ruling government at centre in case they find out about donation to AAP,” the AAP leader added.
Abhay Shinde a Borivali resident said, “This initiative will only succeed where the state is implementing citizen friendly policies and where people would like to financially invest in electing their governments.”
Vikas Shah a Kandivali resident said, “I don’t think AAP will be able to attract huge funds as the party is going through a low phase right now. Earlier people were willing to contribute for AAP’s growth but now the scenario has changed as they have started doubting the party’s credentials after Kejriwal resigned from the post of Delhi CM.”
Aniket Singh a businessman from Malad said, “AAP has failed to fulfil the aspirations of people. Kejriwal will have to work very hard to regain the confidence of the people and he will have to start from the scratch. He will have to connect with the people at grassroots level.”