Aam Aadmi Party has come up with a video in which party’s state president Bhagwant Mann is seeking financial support from people to run “election campaign for honest candidates” in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
In the ten-minute video, posted on Mann’s Facebook page on Wednesday, the party’s state chief can be seen saying, “We can beat the candidates in honesty and transparency but we cannot beat them in money. We don’t want to lag behind in election campaign and hence we need money to run this campaign.”
In the video, Mann, who will be contesting from his sitting seat Sangrur, has given his Paytm number to which money can be sent. He also mentions other options such as via GooglePay and even shared IFSC code if bank transfer is to be done. He even spelt his name to avoid any confusion and at the end, a mobile number for inquiry was also given.
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“You can donate even Rs 1, Rs 5, Rs 100 or whatever you want. I appeal you to donate funds and we will give to detail of all the funds collected, their expenditure details and even will tell you when to stop donating,” the Sangrur MP is heard saying in the video.
After Sukhpal Singh Khaira formed Punjab Ekta Party (PEP), and later Punjab democratic alliance (PDA), Khaira has claimed a number of times that he is getting support from NRIs who were earlier associated with AAP.
Even Faridkot candidate of PEP, Master Baldev Singh, had claimed that 80% of AAP workers have shifted to PEP and hence AAP was finding hard to run its campaign both by manpower and even with funds.
In the 2014 and 2017 elections to Lok Sabha and Assembly respectively, several NRIs had come to Punjab to campaign for AAP. The party had also organised fund raiser dinners with charges starting from Rs 5,000 per dinner in various parts of the state before the 2017 Assembly polls and in many parts of country before last Lok Sabha polls.
However, NRI support is not very visible to AAP this time and many candidates have even expressed that they are facing shortage of funds to run campaign.
“Last time you all had voted for Aam Aadmis and had even sent them in Parliament. I was also one among them where I raised your issues and you all realised that all the issues which I raised were of common man only. So it is an appeal to send we the Aam Aadmis yet again in Parliament… In Delhi also we are going to open an account in Lok Sabha this time,” Mann says in the video.
He further said,” I distributed Rs 26.61 crore under MPLAD fund in my constituency and if even a single rupee corruption is found in this, I am ready to be thrashed before you all.”
“Opponents have earned huge money by corrupt means and I cannot beat them in money if you all want to make politics corruption free, follow Guru Nanak Dev’s Daswandh( one-tenth of income) preachings and donate it for a cause so as to clean the system of this country,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Sangrur, PDA’s Jassi Jasraj, a Punjabi singer, will contest against Mann. SAD’s Parminder Dhindsa is also a probable candidate. Congress is yet to finalise their candidate. Last time Mann had won with highest winning margin in Punjab by over 2 lakh votes over SAD’s Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.