Karnataka Polls: Cong Goes Crowdfunding Way to Take Reddy Duo Down

The online campaign pits a Congress newcomer against BJP MP B Sreeramulu, a close confidante of the Reddy brothers.

2 min read
The Congress party has gone the crowdfunding way in the run-up to the Karnataka elections on 12 May.

In the run-up to the high-stakes Karnataka Assembly elections on Saturday, 12 May, the Congress has started a crowdfunding campaign for its Molakalmuru candidate to take down the Reddy brothers. The Reddy duo’s alleged involvement in the mining mafia is supposed to have caused a loss of Rs 35,000 crore to the state exchequer.

The Congress has pitted newcomer Dr Yogesh Babu against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and close confidante of the Reddy brothers, B Sreeramulu, in Molakalmuru.

The fundraising campaign titled ‘You decide: Dirty politics versus clean politics?’ has said that its goal is to “change the narrative of Indian politics”.

Karnataka Polls: Cong Goes Crowdfunding Way to Take Reddy Duo Down
(Photo Courtesy: YouTube screengrab)

In a video, the Congress tried to present a contrast between Bellary MP B Sreeramulu, addressing him as an accomplice in the mining mafia scam, and Babu, who it calls a "self-made man with a clean track record”.

Karnataka Polls: Cong Goes Crowdfunding Way to Take Reddy Duo Down
(Screengrab Courtesy: YouTube)

Will Use This Campaign in Future Elections: Congress

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha told The Quint that the party was looking at launching an online crowdfunding campaign as a long-term strategy.

“Better late than never. The Congress party feels that there is a tremendous opportunity here to start the process of cleansing the campaign funding issue,” Jha said, refuting claims that the move makes for good optics when elections are just days away.

Touting this as a “door-to-door, scalable and cost-effective strategy” against the BJP’s “marketing jamboree,” Jha believes that the party’s move is a great leveller and enables the public to know the source of funding, with every penny being accounted for.

Online Electoral Crowdfunding: Is the Trend Catching?

Though online crowdfunding in India is at a nascent stage, digitisation has helped boost it as a successful model to raise money during elections – something that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) first began in 2014, when it launched one of the biggest crowdfunding campaigns ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The AAP had managed to raise Rs 21 crore by November that year.

During the Gujarat elections held last year, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani had announced his decision to contest as an Independent candidate from Vadgam constituency and turned to crowdsourcing platform, Crowdnewsing, to keep his electoral campaign afloat.

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