It was an aggressive online campaign that helped the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) use the Centre’s offensive for generating massive donations on Tuesday.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal during an election campaign near Jama Masjid in old Delhi. (HT Photo/Arvind Yadav)
Hours after Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said donations made to AAP were being looked into, the party used social media tools to generate more funds.
One its posts read: “As a show of support to AAP, please donate Rs. 10 or multiples of Rs. 10 today as a fitting reply to those levelling false allegations.”
“All Indians living abroad, studying and working are Indian citizens and it is a shame to call them foreign sources. They carry Indian passports in their hand and India’s best interests in their heart. They have all the right to participate in a political movement in India,” the message said.
The effect was widespread. Against the normal Rs. 7 lakh donation by 400 parties in one day, Tuesday (till 10 pm) saw Rs. 28 lakh being donated by more than 2,000 people.
On Tuesday, the party on its website uploaded a large number of donation receipts. One its receipts read that one Mrinal donated Rs. 200 at 11.05am on Tuesday and “took a positive step in transforming India’s politics”. The party also “thanked” Shinde for “making the political revolution earn Rs. 200 more”.
AAP has insisted its funds from abroad had come from non-resident Indians, not foreign citizens. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act only bars political parties from receiving funds from foreign sources.
“AAP is 100% transparent in receiving donations and will use this investigation as an opportunity to challenge and expose all hidden donations in crores of rupees made to the Congress and BJP,” said a party statement on the social networking site Facebook.
The party has so far collected nearly around Rs. 19.39 crore from approximately 67,700 individuals so far as donations. The party has received Rs. 13.56 crore from donors in India and the rest Rs. 5.77 crore has come from NRIs based in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, UAE and even Saudi Arabia.
The party has received most overseas donations of around Rs. 2 crore from NRIs based in the US, while it has got about Rs. 1.14 crore from Hong Kong-based NRIs, followed by Singapore, UAE and UK based NRIs.