NEW DELHI: Facing a massive fund crunch, the Congress is looking at the Left's Kerala model of funds collection where the majority of the party's funds are collected from the masses through door-to-door mass contact funding drives and slips are issued to donors in return.
The CPI (M) fund generation model in Kerala was also discussed at the recently held ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur and “a paragraph about the system” is also part of the detailed reports of the working groups. The model was suggested by former Kerala Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala. There was a detailed discussion on resource generation for the party in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
“It is being considered seriously. There are some issues, such as how it can be implemented and funds management and transparency. It is being considered and will be discussed at the Task Force 2024 meetings,” said a party source.
According to an audit report submitted to the Election Commission, the income of the Indian National Congress (INC) declined by over 58 per cent in the financial year 2020-21, down from Rs 682.2 crore in the previous fiscal to Rs 285.7 crore. The Congress’ income stood at Rs 918 crore in FY 2018-19.
The fund crunch is pinching the party most, especially after the demise of party treasurer Ahmed Patel, who used to handle party funding through his corporate and other contacts. Senior party leader and Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has been also handling the fund generation but earnings have nosedived in the Modi regime.
The CPI(M) Kerala unit has been contributing maximum funds to the party coffers and there is a joke in party circles that the central party survives on funds from Kerala. The general rule for the party is that 70 per cent of funding must be from door to door mass contact funding drive.
Known as ‘bucket collection ', critics have questioned the credibility of such fund-raising and even the party itself has called for proper maintenance of funds. In 2013, the Kerala units of CPI(M) collected Rs 8 crore in just two days for establishing the Harkishan Singh Surjeet Bhawan and the EMS Research Centre. Of the Rs 8 crore, only Rs 3 crore was direct contribution from party members and the rest was through bucket collection.