iconimg Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 16, 2013
With its coffers swelling by the day, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has now stopped sending e-mails, asking for cash donations. The party has almost reached its target of Rs. 20 crore. About 70,000 people have so far donated Rs. 19.92 crore (by 8pm Friday) to the party through online transactions.

In the last five days alone, the party’s account has received nearly Rs. 1 crore as donations online, prompted apparently by a remark by the Centre that it was looking into charges that the party was receiving foreign funding which is prohibited.

“Rs 7,70, 519.46 more to go for the target of 20 crores. Can’t believe that this is actually happening,” tweeted party’s office-bearer Ankit Lal on Friday.

“We used to send millions of e-mails, requesting people to donate. But we have now stopped sending out such mails. But that doesn’t mean people will not contribute. We will use the money they donate in the most judicious way,” said Bipul Dey, who monitors AAP’s funding.

These online donations are in addition to monetary contributions made in cash or through cheques. 

The party has so far spent around Rs. 9 core, mainly on publicity and logistics. “Unlike other parties, we didn’t have a ready infrastructure. But people have also donated in kind and assets, lessening the overall burden,” Dey added. He also said that much of the expenditure has gone into radio advertisements, pamphlets, posters, banners and documentation.

“Even children are donating money from their piggy banks to party leader Arvind Kejriwal whenever he campaigns. This is a moving gesture and a slap on the faces of those who are bent upon investigating our source of funding,” said a senior party leader.

After four days of spike because of the reference to the probe, online donations have now gone back from an average of Rs. 20 lakh a day to Rs. 7 lakh. 

“But cash alone cannot be a solution to everything. Our supporters and volunteers have provided us, temporarily and otherwise, accommodation, cars, laptops and computers and photocopiers. Without these it would not have been possible for us to fight this election,” said Dey.

Of the total online donations received so far, Rs. 13.90 crore has come from donors in India, Rs. 2.14 crore from NRIs based in the US, Rs. 1.14 crore from Hong Kong-based NRIs, followed by those in Singapore, UAE and UK.

AAP has been insisting that the funds from abroad have been contributed by NRIs, not foreign citizens. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act only bars political parties from receiving funds from foreign sources.