The Dhan Daan,official fund collection campaign launched with great fanfare and huge contributions by top BJP leaders in February this year,is exposing chinks already. As party office-bearers pester workers to meet targets,the workers are cracking up under immense pressure.
On Monday,president of the Anjar Nagarpalika quit because he felt stressed by the targets set for him to contribute to the party kitty. In Surat,a municipal corporator was shocked when he approached a builder in his area for donations when he was politely told that the builder had already donated to a corporator from a different ward because he happened to be his friend. This put the two corporators at loggerheads and the builder had to shell out money twice,once for friendship and the second time to protect business interests.
Driven by panic,more than one workers were found approaching same persons for donations in several cities and towns. By April 6,when the drive concluded,the overall target achieved was between 50-60 per cent. This is because,sources say,the donation drive was imposed on them at a time when the party itself is agitating over price rise and the hardship it is causing to public.
Sources say each ward was given a target of around Rs 50 lakh by the city BJP chiefs but seeing the poor performance,it was reduced to Rs 5 lakh to Rs 8 lakh.
Dhan Daan is not compulsory,but it varies from person to person. Earlier,we were given a target of around 50 lakh. Majority of people in my ward live in slums and only 10 per cent of them are from the middle class. So,it becomes difficult for us, said a Surat corporator.
According to a senior functionary in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation,nearly 60 per cent of the target has been achieved so far. Women corporators are asked to collect Rs 1 lakh each while their male colleagues were assigned targets of Rs two lakh each from their wards. Committee chairpersons were told to bring in Rs 5 lakh each for the party kitty, he said.
From the people at large,one common complaint was of multiple demands. Different party cadres like the corporator,ward president,secretary and the MLA approached the same set of professionals for donations.
Donors get coupons in denominations ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000 with a BJP logo for which they can claim tax exemption.
In Rajkot,there were teething troubles,admitted state General Secretary Vijay Rupani. Party workers told us they felt uncomfortable with idea of first asking people for votes and then for money, he said.
However,he added,things had now settled down now and the party had collected around Rs 7 crore.
Vadodara city BJP could collect Rs 3 crore,80 per cent short of the target,till April 5.
Vadodara district president Balkrishna Patel said it was tough to collect even half of the Rs 5-crore target in the district. So far,only Rs 40 lakh has been received but party workers in the interiors should submit accounts tomorrow and then we shall know the exact figure,he said,admitting the target was unrealistic.
Kheda BJP president Bimal Shah too found the target a bit too ambitious as there was hardly any place to expect money to come from. Even Anand unit is gasping for funds as of now with only 30 per cent of expected collections,according to local leader Kanaksinh Vaghela.