As the Aam Aadmi Party gears for the Lok Sabha elections, it has devised innovative ways of raising funds to run its campaign — from tying up with telecom service providers to receiving donations in monthly instalments.
“To boost donations, we are trying to make the process as hassle-free as possible. We have signed a contract with Airtel recently. Through a service called Airtel Money, donors will be able to transfer money using their mobile phones. We are also in talks with Vodafone for a similar tie-up. The formal launch will take place in a day or two,” Kumar Gaurav, an AAP member in charge of fund collection, said.
Gaurav added that the party had tried to get this service before the Delhi Assembly elections as well, but things had not worked out then.
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AAP is also exploring the possibility of offering donors the option of paying in EMIs, and might soon install swipe machines at party offices for those who might want to contribute using plastic money, party members said.
“There is only one payment gateway in this country which provides such a service. We are in talks with them. Some people, especially working professionals, want to donate in instalments instead of giving a big sum in one go. Depending on the plan chosen, a fixed sum of, say, Rs 1,000, would get transferred from the donor’s account every month,” Gaurav said.
Online donations and meetings with entrepreneurs — two ways in which AAP raised funds for the assembly polls — are being extended to other parts of the country.
AAP officials said Arvind Kejriwal’s speech at CII on Monday had cleared apprehensions among corporate groups about the party’s economic policies. They said that starting Wednesday, party leaders would meet with high net worth individuals across India to raise money for the campaign.
“Yogendra Yadav will meet some high net worth individuals tomorrow in Mumbai. Several other meetings will be scheduled in metros like Delhi and probably in tier-II cities in the coming weeks,” Gaurav said.
The party has also started an “I Fuel Swaraj” campaign, inviting volunteers to help it raise funds.
“Anyone who wants to join the fund-raising team will be part of this campaign. It has people from various parts of the world. Each volunteer has been given 15 days to collect Rs 50,000. Their details have been uploaded on the website,” Gaurav said.
Party members said Kejriwal’s resignation had led to a remarkable surge in donations. On February 15, the day after Kejriwal quit, the party received Rs 27 lakh compared to the daily average of Rs 3-4 lakh, they said.
Until Tuesday, the party’s election chest had nearly Rs 9.5 crore, a third of which had come from Indians living abroad — in the UK, UAE, US, Hong Kong and Singapore.