Do­na­tions to AAP dry up amid as­sault row

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - - Metro - Gu­lam Jee­lani gu­lam.jee­

NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) on­line do­na­tions have taken a ma­jor hit in the last few days, as the show­down be­tween the Delhi gov­ern­ment and its bu­reau­cracy con­tin­ues.

The party, how­ever, re­fused to at­tribute the de­crease in on­line do­na­tions to the present con­tro­versy and claimed that fund­ing had re­duced in the last few months due to the ab­sence of ap­peals of cam­paigns.

As against ₹1 lakh — the av­er­age amount the party re­ceived from donors daily till some time ago — the AAP re­ceived only ₹2,500 from eight donors till 4pm on Tues­day or 2.5% of ₹1 lakh, a party leader said. On Mon­day, he said, 25 peo­ple had donated ₹25,000.

“The do­na­tions have come down dras­ti­cally. It has, how­ever, got noth­ing to do with the present tus­sle with of­fi­cers,” said the leader who didn’t wish to be named.

With 400 peo­ple who con­tribute reg­u­larly, AAP re­ceives do­na­tions on­line and by cheque daily. Con­tri­bu­tions see a rise af­ter ap­peals by the party or its con­vener and Delhi chief min­is­ter, Arvind Ke­jri­wal. The party’s an­nual do­na­tions were high­est in the 2014-15 fi­nan­cial year as both Delhi assem­bly elec­tions and gen­eral elec­tions were held in that pe­riod.

“There have been no ap­peals or cam­paigns by the party or Arvind Ke­jri­wal re­cently. That is the rea­son (for do­na­tions dry­ing up),” said an AAP spokesper­son.

The last time Ke­jri­wal is­sued a mes­sage seek­ing do­na­tions was dur­ing Di­wali in Oc­to­ber 2017 when the party re­ceived ₹18 lakh within hours. It was more than what the party would col­lect over a fort­night. Ke­jri­wal, in an email, had ap­pealed for do­na­tion “to help keep the idea of a clean al­ter­nate pol­i­tics alive”.

In the first five years of its foun­da­tion, AAP has re­ceived do­na­tions worth ₹130.6 crore from its sup­port­ers. These do­na­tions in­clude above ₹20,000 con­tri­bu­tion, which po­lit­i­cal par­ties have to share with the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia. The do­na­tions of Delhi’s rul­ing party were in the news af­ter the in­come-tax depart­ment is­sued a ₹30-crore no­tice to it for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing norms on col­lect­ing do­na­tions in 2014-15, in­clud­ing “hawala en­tries” worth ₹2 crore.

On Novem­ber 26, the foun­da­tion day of the party, AAP re­ceived ₹6.2 lakh from 617 donor en­tries. But, on Fe­bru­ary 14 this year, the third an­niver­sary of Delhi gov­ern­ment, AAP re­ceived less than ₹10,000 from 25 donors.

“Some­how we missed the op­por­tu­nity to seek do­na­tions on the third an­niver­sary of the Delhi gov­ern­ment, this year,” the AAP leader said.

In a fund-rais­ing event held af­ter the party’s man­i­festo launch in Fe­bru­ary 2015, AAP had raised ₹1.25 crore as do­na­tion, party’s high­est col­lec­tion in a day since it came to be­ing on Novem­ber 2012.

Com­pared to hefty col­lec­tions in the be­gin­ning, do­na­tions have come down grad­u­ally over the years. Till last month, 50 plus donors would con­tribute ₹1 lakh do­na­tion to the party. In worstcase sit­u­a­tions, the donors come down to 20. The low­est do­na­tions has been a few hun­dred ru­pees a day.

“But, less than ₹10,000 from 15 donors is a rare oc­cur­rence,” the leader ad­mit­ted. He added that the low­est do­na­tion that the party has re­ceived in a day till date was ₹10. The party has, how­ever, col­lected ₹1.5 crore in cheques for the up­com­ing Kar­nataka elec­tions where it will con­test on a few seats.

De­spite re­peated at­tempts, no AAP spokesper­son was avail­able for a com­ment.

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