Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal will host diamond merchants, Bollywood artists and bankers for a ‘ Rs 20,000 per plate’ dinner next week in Mumbai, kick-starting AAP’s fund-raising campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi.
With online donations reducing to a trickle—a few thousands rupees a day, while earlier it stood at several lakhs—AAP is looking to raise funds differently to take on BJP which is likely to unleash a publicity blitz and is already relying on brand Modi.
“The Mumbai dinner on November 27 will raise only Rs 40 lakh because it will have space for a maximum of 200 donors, mostly our supporters, but the actual donation drive will start after that. Our Maharashtra unit alone has a target of raising Rs 5 crore over the next two months through reach-out drives,” said AAP leader Preeti Sharma Menon.
In the run-up to this year’s Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal in March had hosted a fund-raising dinner in Bangalore inviting criticism from the Congress who questioned whether the AAP leader—who then also charged Rs 20,000 per person for having a meal with him—can claim to represent the common man.
Other cities, including Delhi will also see similar fund raising dinners with AAP leaders such as Kumar Vishwas, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav playing host.
“Kejriwal will also make a formal appeal to people to donate for the party. That will definitely lead to a spike in our daily collection,” Menon said.
Earlier, donations came thick and fast, especially when the party was in news --good or bad. For instance, on April 4, when Kejriwal was slapped in south Delhi, AAP received a donation of Rs 1.46 crore in comparison to Rs 47.94 lakh the previous day.
In April, the average was Rs 30 lakh per day. Funds started drying up when the Lok Sabha election results were declared on May 16. AAP drew a blank in Delhi and won only two of the more than 400 seats it fought nationally.
In the last seven days not once has the party received even Rs 1 lakh in a day. To encourage donations, AAP is tweeting online donors’ name with the hashtag #IFundHonestPolitics.
After the assembly elections in December 2013, the party has so far received more than Rs 37 crore from more than one lakh donors. The party had received Rs 20 crore as donations between November 2012 and November 2013.
At 71.3%, India---followed by US, UAE, Canada, UK and Hong Kong---figures on top of the list of donor counties. In India, maximum money has come from Maharashtra, followed by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.