Delhi voted AAP in but didn’t pay for their win; NRIs top donors | india | Hindustan Times
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Delhi voted AAP in but didn’t pay for their win; NRIs top donors

The Capital contributed just 20% of the Aam Admi Party’s campaigning funds over the last two years, an analysis of its declaration to the Election Commission has show.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2016 10:10 IST
Aloke Tikku
Arvind Kejriwal

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during his swearing in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi in 2013. His first stint as chief minister lasted 49 days. He was brought back to power in February 2015.(Arvind Yadav/HT File Photo)

Delhi might have been where its votes were, but the Capital contributed just 20% of the Aam Admi Party’s funds for poll campaigning, an analysis of the party’s declarations between 2013 and 2015 has shown.

It was non-resident Indians who instead topped AAP’s list of donors, contributing almost 25% of the Rs 44.71 crores received during 2013-14 and 2014-15. Maharashtra came next, chipping in Rs 10.41 crores (23.3%), followed closely by Delhi that donated Rs 9.13 crores (20.4%) over the two-year period.

AAP received a total of Rs 9.42 crores in donations from contributions that were above the Rs 20,000 cut-off during 2013-14.

The party faced criticism that it was following the usual political practice of not declaring donation amounts less than Rs 20,000.

But during 2014-15, the party had in fact included contributions that were less than the cut-off in its declaration. In all, it said it received Rs 35.28 crores last year.

AAP was the only major political party in Delhi to do so, a sharp contrast with parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party that over the last decade claimed all its donations were less than Rs 20,000 and so the party was exempt from declaring them, according to the Election Commission’s rules.

For AAP, small donations were high on symbolism, but only added marginally to the party’s coffers. There were 3,326 donations during 2014-15 ranging from a mere Re 1 to Rs 20,000. But this raked in just Rs 2.68 crores, the Association for Democratic Reforms said based on the analysis.

AAP’s funding campaign, often fuelled by face-offs with the BJP through the Lok Sabha campaign, found success in tapping individual donors who opened their purse strings when the rookie party came under attack.

For instance, AAP had picked up over Rs 1.5 crore in the two days after Arvind Kejriwal visited Varanasi on March 25, 2014 and confirmed he would fight against Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Modi hit back the next day calling Kejriwal “AK-49” in reference to his 49-day stint in power in 2013.

Nearly 79% – Rs 35.12 crores – of AAP donations in the last two years were from individual donors, reducing AAP’s dependence on institutional supporters that largely fund national political parties.

In contrast, donations by individuals accounted for just 7.5% of the total money collectively received by all national parties.

In 2014, the BJP had received Rs 27.41 crore from 440 individuals, the Congress Rs 13.50 crore from 159, the Nationalist Congress Party Rs 60 lakh from seven individuals while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India together received Rs 3.73 crore from 93 individual donors.