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AAP asks Lok Sabha candidates to crowd-source funds

Monday, 10 March 2014 - 7:24pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

After bringing in concepts like constituency based manifestos, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is now asking its Lok Sabha candidates to crowd-source funds required for fighting elections from their constituencies.

The central government on Friday cleared a proposal of the Election Commission of India raising poll expenditure for candidate for a Lok Sabha constituency to Rs70 lakh from the present benchmark of Rs40 lakh.

That is why AAP requires huge amount of funds even if it decides to put up candidates only for 200 Lok Sabha constituencies. AAP has already announced candidates for 131 Lok Sabha seats. But AAP is expected to fight much more seats to present itself as a “national alternative” compared to Congress and BJP.

However, AAP, since Delhi Legislative Assembly elections got over in December 2013, it has got donations of around Rs11.62 crores only.

Thus AAP has now decided to “go all out” in next 50 days for collecting funds and one of the main decisions has been to ask its candidates to generate money from public in their own constituencies.

“Candidates are being asked to create their own funding mechanisms...not that they are required to put their own money… but they are being asked to generate money from the public in their own constituencies,” AAP’s senior leader and national secretary Pankaj Gupta told dna.

AAP has decided “to go all out” in increasing inflow of donations especially by reaching out to industry. Party has formed teams across country who will reach out to high net income individuals seeking donations. It will also be organizing “official fundraisers” across country to generate funds.

 “We are trying to maximize our fund collection,” said Gupta. Besides candidates, political parties also spend money during elections.

Another senior AAP leader explained that the decision to ask candidates to generate resources locally doesn’t mean that AAP candidates would not get money from party but they are “basically being encouraged to crowd-source funds” for several reasons.

“Innovative ways by AAP candidates to source funds from public in his or her constituency would increase his reach out to voters in the constituency. It will bring them closer and through such steps he or she would increase interaction with voters wherein they would be able to tell people about AAP’s policies and plans too,” the senior AAP leader told dna.

Party feels the decision is also keeping in line with AAP’s plan of spreading Swaraj – decentralising of governance and power. AAP also believes the decision would make AAP candidates more transparent and accountable.

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