Tea and lunch with Arvind Kejriwal, #IFundHonestParty challenge and selfies may have got the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a lot of attention but adequate funds to contest elections still seem to elude the party.
The party had declared that it was looking to raise Rs. 30 crore for the assembly elections this year, up from Rs. 20 crore in 2013. But till January 19, the party had received only over Rs. 7.5 crore in donation.
In 2013, AAP had closed donations 20 days before election day as it had met its target of 20 crore by then.
“If we go by the commitments made by a few people and a few cheques that are to be realised, we have managed to raise close to 10 crore by now. Our daily collections have increased significantly in comparison to what we were getting in December,” said Pankaj Gupta who is managing the party’s fundraising efforts.
The party’s failure to meet its target could mean cutting corners in its campaign. The numbers of times that you hear Arvind Kejriwal’s voice on the radio, therefore, may come down as may the party hoardings.
“We are not cutting costs just yet. We still have 15 days to go. Where earlier we were getting around 4 lakh per day today we are averaging 15 lakh to 20 lakh daily. Maybe we will only be able to get around 20 or 25 crore,” said Gupta.
Though the party claims it is not cutting corners just yet, there is a big chance that it may be forced to use the money it had saved as a safety net. The financial crunch has the candidates and their teams most worried.
“We always knew that money was tight but we had expected to get at least 20 crore by now. We have been managing till now but the donations need to pick up. The party is trying all it can. It is taking donations even at rallies,” said a party member who is part of a candidate’s campaign team.
At Kumar Vishwas’s rally in Patparganj on Monday, the party collected 21,000 from those who attended.
Gupta, the problem this year is that that the party had set a bigger target compared to 2013 but had much lesser time to meet the deadline.
“Last year, we had 6 to 7 months to get donations. This year we started in earnest from November 26,” he said.
The party is hoping that Kejriwal’s nomination on Wednesday will give the donation figures a boost.