Unable to fund its daily functioning through donations alone, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has now turned to its MLAs to help refill its nearly-empty coffers.
The party — which plans to fight the Punjab assembly elections in 2017 — has asked its legislators to move beyond online donations and come up with a plan to raise funds on the ground through people-to-people contact in their respective constituencies.
“AAP’s fundraising has been event-based so far. We collect money when there is an election or when something big happens within the party. We have now asked MLAs to tell us how much money they can help raise and what their capability is as we understand that all constituencies will not contribute equally,” said the party’s Delhi convener Dilip Pandey.
Sources said the AAP leadership had earlier decided to set each MLA a target of raising Rs 1 lakh per month but abandoned the idea after criticism from party workers. “The idea was floated but it was not practical and increased the chances of MLAs resorting to ‘easy money’,” said a senior leader.
The party — which came to power in Delhi on an anti-corruption plank — has so far depended on fundraisers and online donations to fight elections but is now finding it difficult to meet its daily expenses.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the party’s national convener, had issued appeals for donations in July but the response paled in comparison to the massive monetary support it received in 2013 ahead of its first stint in power.
“We are now preparing the ground for a proper fundraising exercise as we, unlike other parties, don’t have a dedicated cell for this. We are expecting the MLAs to get back to us in a week or two. We don’t have a lot of funds and the party needs to continue its daily functioning,” Pandey said.