AAP gets Rs 42L in 24 hrs

Donations flow in again for polls party plans to fight

The Aam Aadmi Party’s fundraising scorecard reads Rs 42 lakh in first 24 hours. In a victory rally at Jantar Mantar, on Wednesday evening, party leader Arvind Kejriwal had asked supporters to donate money for the party’s future electoral battles.

A day later, the party’s website opened for donations. “We raised Rs 22.85 lakh through online donations on the first day,” said Ankit Lal, a national council member of AAP.

Besides online fundraising, the party accepted donations through cheques, drafts and cash. “We give a donation certificate to all the donors, except for those who pay in cash,” said Kumar Gaurav, a party member who manages donations.

The party has not planned to cap donations as yet. “It will depend on the number of Lok Sabha seats we contest. And if we go for Delhi Assembly elections, we will need more funds,” said Lal.

Earlier the AAP had raised Rs 20 crore in donations for contesting the Assembly elections through ‘crowd-sourcing’. The party is open to corporate funding. But the maximum donation comes from individuals, especially NRIs, say party sources.

The donations given to AAP – being a registered political party -- are subject to exemption under Income Tax Act 1961. The donors can claim tax deductions.

The party, with its growing membership base, also generates funds by collecting membership fees which the party members say are used for “party functioning”.
The candidates get a large share of donation money for their electoral campaigns, but the party lacks a clear mandate on distribution of funds among candidates.

“Rakhi Birla (the AAP candidate from Mongolpuri constituency), for instance, comes from a humble background. So she needed more money than Shazia Ilmi (the party candidate from RK Puram) who came from more privileged background,” Lal said.

Sourabh Bharadwaj, 34, the AAP candidate who defeated leader of opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra of BJP, spent around Rs 11 lakh on campaigning. Bharadwaj had a funding of Rs 8 lakh from the party. “It was good enough to contest an election,” he said.

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