Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday asked people to donate funds for his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying it has run out of money.
Kejriwal, who rose to prominence with a campaign against corruption, including in the funding of political parties, acknowledged that his appeal for funds was “bizarre”.
“After we came to power, our funds (were) exhausted. Now we want funds to run our party and we want it from the public,” Kejriwal was quoted as saying by ANI.
“You would say I’m a bizarre chief minister, asking for funds like this. We can get money the wrong way but that is not who we are,” he said.
“We are indebted to the people for their help. But now we need funds for day-to-day expenses.”
Kejriwal said the public had funded the AAP, which “never took any money under the table”. He added: “We gave a record of every rupee we got.”
The AAP stormed to power in elections held in February, bagging 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly.
Since then, Kejriwal has been criticised for the way in which he has run the party, and several leaders, including Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, were expelled from the AAP for speaking out against him.
Days before the elections in February, a group of former AAP members and supporters alleged that the party had received four donations of Rs 50 lakh each from four “bogus” companies that were fronts for money-laundering.
Members of the breakaway AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM) also accused Kejriwal of turning the party into a “one-man show” with no tolerance for criticism.
The AAP rejected the accusation and asked the Central government to order an investigation into the matter. “We’ve taken all donations by cheque…We have a BJP government (at the Centre). Let it investigate. Please punish me if anything wrong is found,” Kejriwal said at the time.