07 jan 2014
Arvind Kejriwal’s party taps into NRI support as it gears up for 2014
New Delhi\Chicago: The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi may barely be 10 days old, but its volunteers are already working overtime to go national. The party, in particular, is banking on Non-Resident Indians or NRIs to raise funds and help canvass votes for the party for the national elections, due by May.
US-based Dr Munish Raizada, who led the outreach-and-involvement program for the AAP in the run-up to the elections in Delhi in December, claims the party has already collected Rs. 1.2 crore from NRIs for the Lok Sabha polls. This is part of the total contribution of Rs. 5 crore that the fledgling party has already received since December 8 when the results in Delhi were announced.
Dr Raizada, a Chicago-based paediatrician, put his practice on hold and travelled to India, where he along with dozens of volunteers, manned computers and phones at the AAP’s Hanuman Mandir Road headquarters in Delhi. Back in US to visit his two children and wife, Dr Raizada says he is looking forward to working for the party once again as he returns to Delhi on Wednesday.
The AAP, however, is being careful as far as financial contributions are concerned with the party reportedly ensuring only Indian nationals making contributions. The BJP and Congress have accused the rookie party of receiving funds from foreign nationals and companies, something that is not allowed as per Indian law.
The Home Ministry is also conducting a probe into the foreign funds received by the party. Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel told NDTV that he expected the “truth to come out” once that probe is complete.
Mr Kejriwal’s party, though, insists that it hasn’t broken any law, with leaders alleging a conspiracy to defame the party as it eyes a national stage.