North East Delhi candidate Dilip Pandey is seeking small donations, in cash or kind — so, anything from biscuits and rations to fuel for vehicles will do. Raghav Chadha, vying for South Delhi seat, on the other hand, is reaching out to alumni of his school for funds, besides urging voters to make whatever financial contribution they can. Atishi (East Delhi) has generated funds through an online campaign and New Delhi candidate Brijesh Goyal, who is also the convener of AAP’s trade wing, is knocking on the doors of his trader friends.
As polling in Delhi will take place on May 12, the long-drawn campaign is set to stretch the resources of the parties. To remain in public view, the candidates will need to campaign long and hard, thus putting those with meagre resources at a disadvantage to some extent.
“I studied in a government school and don’t have a network of rich alumni to bank on. I don’t have the money to fund the campaign from my own pocket either. So, I am at the mercy of the voters. I have explained the situation to the people in my constituency and they have opened their hearts,” said Pandey, who spends his day connecting with voters in the North East constituency, currently held by Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.
A grocery shop owner who could not afford to give money for Pandey’s campaign offered him biscuits. “I accepted the box of biscuits, which I am using as snacks in my election office. Another person offered me bedding, which I am using in my election office,” Pandey said. The AAP leader agreed to use a vehicle offered by a supporter who couldn’t afford to donate money. “I am using the vehicle with my aides. I will return it after elections are over,” he said.
Atishi has organised at least five fundraising dinners, besides reaching out to school alumni as also friends from Oxford University and St Stephen’s College where she studied. “I have collected around Rs 53 lakh from crowdfunding,” she said.
A chartered accountant by profession, Chadha, who is also a member of the Political Affairs Committee of the party, has reached out to members of the city’s CAcommunity to help “one of their own”. He said: “I studied at Modern School, which has a huge alumni network. I have reached out to a large number of them for support and funds, and many of them have responded.”
Brijesh Goyal, himself a trader, said that he would write to members of various associations for donations.
In previous elections, too, AAP has banked on small donations from the public. A party source said it not only helped finance the campaign, but also built a bond with voters. “Compared with other parties, AAP does not have coffers overflowing with funds. Thus, we depend on people for money,” he said.