Polls apart: AAP’s NRI backers turn hostile

Lack of financial transparency in the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has prompted a group of NRIs, who once worked to mobilise funds and support for the party, to turn against it.

Published: 09th April 2017 06:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2017 09:01 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (File | PTI)

NEW DELHI:  Lack of financial transparency in the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has prompted a group of NRIs, who once worked to mobilise funds and support for the party, to turn against it.

They have started a campaign called ‘Chandabandh Satyagraha’ ahead of the municipal elections, cautioning people against making donations to the party.

Over 50 NRIs and professionals are working with the campaign, founded by Chicago-based medical practitioner Dr Munish Raizada, across the city. So far, over 70,000 people have taken the pledge, according to him.

“One of the fundamental principles of the party was that it will be 100 per cent financially-transparent. Every donation was to be shown on the party website along with the details of the donor.

But, in practice, no donors’ list has been published since June 2016. So, there is a dichotomy between what the party claims and what it does,” said Raizada.

Chandabandh Satyagraha, floated by a group of NRIs), asks general public to take a pledge not to donate money to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) until the party discloses details of the donations. 

“We were quite impressed with the financial transparency of the party and had worked very hard to collect crores of rupees by way of donations from India and many other countries. But, it is shocking that the party has deviated from its fundamental principle,” said Madhav Jha, a software professional, who is part of the campaign.

Convenor Dr Munish Raizada asserts that the campaign has nothing to do with electoral politics. “It is completely apolitical. But, yes, it impacted poll results in Punjab. People were made aware of the issues. And, in Delhi also our team is creating awareness about transparency in political donations,” he added.

Raizada, Jha and others still believe that AAP’s principles are strong, but, they said, “the chandachor gang has taken over the ideology. Majority of us are still with AAP but opposing it for the sake of principles.”

“AAP had promised to be different from other parties and this was the reason we came out in their support. But, over a period it has changed and become like any another political party so far as financial transparency is concerned,” said Jha.

Raizada said he had approached the senior leadership in the party on the issue but nothing came out. “We tried to reach out to them so many times.

I wrote an open letter, but, nothing happened,” he added.

Asked about the details of donations to the party, AAP leader Dilip Pandey said the website would be updated soon and it would be a new site. “Also, we will have features to protect our donors as some of them faced problems after giving donation to AAP,” he said.

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