Kanhaiya cries foul as his crowdfunding website hacked
Hopes of raising quick money through crowdfunding were shortlived for Kanhaiya Kumar, former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and CPI candidate for the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat, which goes to polls on April 29.
Having begun crowd-funding on the portal www.onedemocracy.in on March 26 as part of an innovative and transparent idea, the website could function barely two days before it was rendered unserviceable, allegedly due to cyber attack.
In a veiled attack against his opposition and the government, Kanhaiya said, “I can’t say if it is a government conspiracy, but my website has been regularly attacked. The common man is unable to reach the payment gateway because of the cyber attack,” he said.
“This is what people need to understand that powerful people, having ill-gotten wealth and muscle power, make every attempt to stop an ordinary man (in politics),” he said.
Kanhaiya termed his crowd-funding a new brand of alternative politics and saw nothing wrong if people were to fund such public contests out of their own money. “We are not taking money from corporate houses. Instead, we are taking money from the people — like the one note, one vote concept in the past — with the donor’s name and donation clearly mentioned on the website,” said Kanhaiya.
Pitching for transparency in political funding, he regretted that political funding by corporate houses had been kept out of the ambit of RTI.
“As part of the social contract between the government and individuals, the individual has surrendered some right to the state. If you have to strengthen democracy at this stage, even the state should surrender some right, and one such thing is the right to privacy,” he said.
The CPI leader also took an indirect swipe against the government for the secrecy surrounding political donations through electoral bonds, introduced in 2018.
When electoral bonds were introduced, the rationale behind them was that it would help clean up untraceable cash funding to political parties. However, large donors have been able to exploit the loopholes in the system and circumvent rules to keep details of donations secretive. The Election Commission has now pricked the premise, calling it “a retrograde step as far as transparency is concerned” and wants it scrapped. The ball is now in the Supreme Court, which is expected to adjudicate on April 2.
Asked how much he had raised through crowdfunding, Kanhaiya said, “I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was around ₹30 lakh in two days.”
“As soon as the bug is fixed in about a couple of days, we hope to resume the crowdfunding,” signed off Kanhaiya.
His aide Dhananjay put the collection through crowdfunding at ₹36 lakh, but refused to give the name of the Delhi-based IT firm, which he claimed was doing the service free of cost for Kanhaiya.