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BJP starts drive for ‘transparent’ collection of funds

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 15, 2014
First Published: 00:28 IST(15/1/2014) | Last Updated: 00:30 IST(15/1/2014)

In moves seen as inspired by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the BJP has launched a fund-collection drive where the buzzword is transparency.

It has also set up a new campaign website and created a special platform for urban professionals, a constituency that is seen to be rapidly veering towards AAP.

BJP president Rajnath Singh set up the ‘Modi-for-PM fund’, where people can donate funds ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 1,000, through cash, credit card and debit card. Each contributor, the party said, would be given a paper trail and receive confirmation either through a text message or online. Singh paid Rs. 1,000 while launching the drive.

The BJP has revamped its website, which focuses on top leaders, their speeches, the party’s position on core national issues, and encourages interactivity with supporters. Singh also launched the BJP Technocratic Cell, with a focus on recruiting alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), and other management and engineering colleges.

He highlighted the NDA government’s achievements in the realm of infrastructure and encouraged technocrats to participate in ‘nation-building’. Subodh Sharma, formerly of IIT Roorkee, was appointed as the convener of the cell.  While BJP leaders denied their initiatives had anything to do with AAP, observers were quick to draw comparisons.

The AAP had launched an open-fund collection drive in the run-up to the Delhi assembly elections, and closed it once they achieved the stated target of Rs. 20 crore.

The new party’s success in the social and digital media space has been lauded even by critics. And BJP is increasingly wary of AAP’s growing appeal among urban middle classes, which it has traditionally seen as its support-base.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, himself is from IIT, and has tapped into old alumni networks in the process of expanding his outfit.

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