January 7, 2017 2:58:51 am
As the Aam Aadmi Party gears up to make its electoral debut in Punjab and Goa, and with the upcoming municipal polls in Delhi, the trade wing of the party is wooing entrepreneurs and traders across the capital to raise funds to fuel its political campaigns. A fundraiser dinner, slated to be held on Saturday, is expected to see over 200 traders pledge financial support to the party, the trade wing claimed.
Since the formation of the party, AAP has maintained that it has been cash-strapped and has appealed to supporters to make small donations to help it engage in ‘clean’ politics. “We fight on clean money and have proved that clean politics is possible through clean money. We get small donations from our supporters and have been contesting polls with that, unlike the BJP that spends enormous sums on its campaigns,” claimed Raghav Chadha, AAP national treasurer.
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“Before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, we had held a similar fundraiser with traders where we managed to pool in around Rs 20 lakh. Two more fundraisers were held before the 2015 Assembly polls in Delhi where we got larger sums of Rs 50 lakh and Rs 60 lakh each. This time, we are expecting to raise around Rs 1 crore through the fundraiser. So far, 200 small traders and entrepreneurs have already committed and another 50 to 100 traders are expected to be on board shortly,” Brijesh Goyal, AAP trade wing head, told The Indian Express.
“Despite financial losses due to demonetisation, these traders have reached out to us on their own to make the donations. This shows their frustration with the BJP government and also their support to the Delhi government that has taken several steps to ensure ease of business in the capital. Since the implementation of demonetisation on November 8, more and more traders have moved towards the AAP.”
The party was recently at the centre of a raging controversy over alleged discrepancies in its declaration of donations received in the previous years. The party had admitted to “inadvertent errors” in its declaration to the Income Tax department, and had maintained that “92 per cent of its funding is through bank transactions leaving no scope for hiding any information or foul play”.
Right at its inception, AAP had promised to keep its funding process transparent and declare all information related to donations on its official website. However, over the last month, the party has decided to conceal the identity of some of its donors, particularly in Punjab, after it alleged that the donors were being “victimised” by AAP’s political opponents.
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