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AAP convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Since taking charge of the Delhi government, the AAP has been mired in controversy. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
AAP convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Since taking charge of the Delhi government, the AAP has been mired in controversy. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Squabbling hits AAP funding

Donations drop from Rs61.80 lakh in March to Rs5.54 lakh in April; party leaderssaytheyhaven't been actively seeking donations

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has seen a drastic fall in donations since the Delhi elections.

The donations dropped from around 61.80 lakh in March to 5.54 lakh in April.

Since sweeping to power in Delhi in February, the party has been riven by rebellion, culminating in the sacking of dissident leaders last month.

Leaders of the AAP admitted that while they have not been actively seeking donations, a major reason for the decline could be the rebellion in the party, which was met with a show of force.

“The Delhi elections have just got over. We have not been actively asking for funds since the elections have got over. A reason for the drop between March and April could have been the recent incidents in the party," said a senior member of the party, who asked not to be named.

“But I don’t see the funds dropping as a sign of worry. It would be a sign for us to worry if we were asking for donations and then failing to get funds," he added.

The timing of the donations —listed on the party website—appears to show huge support for Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, tapering off when the internal crisis breaks out.

On 11 March, when an audio tape surfaced with a voice said to be that of Kejriwal allegedly backing horse-trading ahead of the Delhi election, the AAP received a substantial 1,820,051 in donations.

On 21 April, a day after the rebel founder members—Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha—were expelled from the party, donations slipped to 4,316.

On 26 March, when peace moves between the two factions failed, the donations trickled to a mere 264.

Since taking charge of the Delhi government, the AAP has been mired in controversy.

The expulsion of the four leaders was followed by the alleged suicide of a farmer from Rajasthan on 22 April, at a rally organized by the party to protest against the central government’s ordinance to the land acquisition bill.

There were several donations of just one rupee each, a possible sign of donors showing their displeasure at the squabbling in the party.

A political analyst said donors are disillusioned.

“People donating to the AAP are not the classic contributors. They have an idealistic and moralistic view of politics. The contributors are disillusioned with the infighting in the party, which is the reason for the reduction in donations," said Jai Mrug, a Mumbai-based political analyst.

In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AAP won just four seats out of the over 400 it contested.

A month after the results were declared, the AAP received a sum of 35.53 lakh in donations in June.

Financial support for the party grew as it received a sum of 58.17 lakh in July.

The party swept the elections to the Delhi state assembly this year, winning 67 of the 70 seats.

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