Five Months After Sweeping Delhi, How Can AAP Be Bankrupt?
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has announced that the party is broke. But where has all the money gone?
June 17, Rock-Bottom Day
On January 31, this year, the Aam Aadmi Party collected Rs 1.22 crore in donations, in a single day. The number hit rockbottom on June 17, when the party collected just Rs 100.
After AAP came to power in February, its daily collections kept up for a few weeks. In March, AAP collected between Rs 13-14 lakh. But the flow dwindled dramatically after April.
Where Has The Money Gone?
Since February, AAP has been looking beyond Delhi again. Trying to make inroads in Kerala and recovering in Punjab and Maharashtra. That involves costs say AAP leaders -
Our party members go to Kerala and Punjab for party work. Travel and stay costs come up. We had a surplus during elections but that is now over.
— Arvind Jha, AAP Member
AAP insists that dwindling funds do not mean dwindling support. The party says the day Kejriwal appealed for money, Rs 13 lakh came in, and Rs 9 lakh the day after.
AAP also has four Lok Sabha MPs and 67 MLAs in Delhi, with access to MLALAD and MPLAD funds worth over Rs 270 crore annually. Funds, AAP claims, the party will not touch.
We don’t believe in siphoning money from MLALAD/MPLAD funds. Our supporters are intact. We are working on a strategy to reach out to them for funds.
— Arvind Jha, AAP Member
Some AAP Bills Going to Tax Payer?
The Times of India reports that the AAP government has so far spent about Rs 4 crore on all kinds of advertising, including outdoor, newspapers and TV spots.
The ads are Kejriwal centric, an NGO has even petitioned the Delhi High Court to direct the Centre, Lt Governor and Delhi govt that the cost of these ads be recovered from the Delhi CM. The High Court is to hear the plea on July 20.
An Indian Express report adds that the AAP government has approved Cabinet Minister rank for Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman of Delhi Dialogue Commission. Khetan, a former journalist, considered to be close to Kejriwal, will be entitled to a government bungalow, car, monthly salary, free electricity, telephone, office staff and travel allowance.
Clearly AAP is living and learning. The party will now remember to rope in trump card Kejriwal to appeal for funds when needed. Or accept an occasional ‘subsidy’ from their own Delhi ‘sarkar’.
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