Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has claimed to have received donations ranging from Rs 10 to lakhs from rickshaw pullers to traders to NRIs to help it fight the Delhi assembly polls and bring a "corruption-free" administration.
It said it has so far received over Rs 12 crore as donations from cross section of people and most of them are the first time donors to a political party. The AAP, which aims to collect Rs 20 crore for the upcoming elections, has received over Rs 6.20 crore from donors in India while rest have come from NRIs based in the US, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, UAE and even Saudi Arabia.
"We are receiving around Rs 10 lakh per day from all sources, and expect to hit the target Rs 20 crore soon as we still have time before the elections. Also our door-to-door collection programme a hit, as it allows us to establish a connect with people," an AAP activist said. The AAP, which has kept all its transactions and donations in public domain by posting details on its website, has got large amount of donations from the US-based NRIs. "Over 4,000 donors have contributed a total of Rs 1,16,67,059, which is around 12 per cent of the party's total contribution, followed by NRIs in Hong Kong. One Hong Kong- based NRI has donated Rs 50 lakh for the party and assured us that he would urge other NRIs to donate more to the party fund," the activist said.
The party has also been receiving funds from NRIs based in Germany, Qatar, Kuwait, New Zealand, Singapore, Norway, the UK the Netherlands and Japan. The AAP has over 47,000 online donors, which include rickshaw pullers, soldiers from Siachen or businessmen in America, the AAP activist said.
Since the launch of the new party last November, Kejriwal knew money would be needed to fight the political battles, said an AAP leader.
During his public meetings in the national capital to garner support, he asked people to donate to the AAP.
The AAP leader said according to Election Commission's norm Rs 14 lakh can be spent by each candidate and for 70 constituencies total expenditure would be around Rs 10 crore. The rest of the money will be spent on advertising through radio, SMSes and interactive voice response (IVR) system. "We are against print advertisements, and when model code of conduct comes into effect then we would have to advertise through paid hoardings only," said Kejriwal, adding a total cost for all these would be around Rs 10 crore.
The party has come up with a unique idea of adopting a constituency, under which people are encouraged to take the responsibility of expenses of a constituency. Apart from cash donations and cheques, the party has also acquired a credit card swiping machine, allowing the donors the flexibility to donate using a credit card.
Recently, Rajya Sabha member and businessman Rajeev Chandrasekhar donated Rs 5 lakh to the party, saying "their performance in Delhi elections was important for all those who care about the 'real issues' of governance and politics of serving people! It's no longer ok to be silent and mute spectators to what is happening! Take a stand!" AAP workers said, initially a section of donors were afraid of government's action for donating money to the party, but slowing they are also contributing. "There are numerous example when people contributed whatever they had in their wallet," said Kejriwal.
"The Congress and BJP get huge donations. Can they publish the list of all donors? More importantly, if they cannot come clean about their own internal funding, how can they be expected to clean up corruption?" he asked.