Donations to AAP dry up amid assault row
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.