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Fund-raising dinner with Arvind Kejriwal in Bangalore

Sunday, 9 March 2014 - 5:27am IST Updated: Sunday, 9 March 2014 - 9:33am IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: IANS

Well-wishers of the AAP will host a fund-raising dinner, costing Rs20,000 per head, with party leader Arvind Kejriwal at a hotel here on March 15.
Touted to be the young party's novel initiative on the lines of dinners held by political parties in countries like the US, the high-profile event is reportedly a brain-child of former Infosys director and AAP member V Balakrishnan, who is inviting about 200 high net worth individuals working in the IT sector, private equity investors and venture capitalists.
Clarifying that the proposed dinner is not a party event and not connected with its campaign for the ensuing general elections, AAP's state unit spokesman Rohit Ranjan said Kejriwal has agreed to attend and interact with the invited guests.

"We are not hosting the dinner. It is being organised by our party's well-wishers, ostensibly to raise some funds for the ensuing elections. Kejriwal has agreed to attend. We are in the process of finalising the programme, where, how many and who all will be present at the closed-door event," Ranjan said.
Election to Karnataka's 28 Lok Sabha constituencies is scheduled for April 17.

In case all the 200 invitees, including celebrities, high-profile businessmen and noted personalities from across the city and state attend the dinner, the AAP is expected to raise about Rs40 lakh as the base rate is Rs20,000 per guest though they are free to give more money.

"You have the opportunity for a no-holds barred discussion with Kejriwal and the local leadership, on matters important to you," reads the invite mail from Balakrishnan.
Stressing on the significance of the dinner, the tech-savvy Balakrishnan highlighted the issue of corruption, the main plank on which the AAP is fighting.

"Corruption in this country starts with the way political parties are funded. AAP is trying to change this by raising money from known sources, which are fully accounted for in a transparent way and use that to fund candidates to run elections honestly.

"Unless all of us support this kind of initiative, the country will never change. I request all of you to attend the dinner and make the pledge," says the mail.
Balakrishnan was, however, not accessible to comment on the fund-raising effort nor the party's national executive convener and state unit head Pritvi Reddy available to ascertain how funds were being mobilised locally to contest in the ensuing parliamentary polls.

"We are planning to contest in all the seats across the state, as we have received about 400 applications so far. We hope to finalise the list of candidates for Kejriwal's approval," Ranjan said.
The election commission will notify the Lok Sabha polls in the state March 19 and nominations can be filed from that date.




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