The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which chose not to accept corporate donations and successfully relied on the common man for funding its campaign in the Delhi Assembly polls, is likely to chase big-ticket donations for financing its ambitions on the national level.
According to a member of AAP's national executive committee (NEC) who did not wish to be named, for the Lok Sabha elections, which could be advanced to April this year, the party has set an initial target of raising Rs 200 crore - 10 times its Rs 20-crore budget for the Delhi election. It has estimated an expenditure of Rs 1 crore per Lok Sabha seat.
Since the Assembly election that catapulted AAP to power in the country's capital, the party has received Rs 5.8 crore through online donations, at an average of Rs 20-25 lakh a day. Though the average single-day donation now is higher than it was before AAP formed the government in Delhi, the party believes that the funds raised from personal donations by April would not be enough to contest the general elections on a large scale.
"At the moment, we are getting Rs 20-25 lakh in donations every day. But this is not enough. We will have to increase that many times over and are designing a funding structure," Pankaj Gupta, AAP's national secretary, told Business Standard.
The party will soon set up a team of around 500 members to increase funding. The target donor this time might not be the common man alone; corporate people could also be approached - not the corporate entities but, as the party insists, the people in their personal capacity.
For the Delhi Assembly election, AAP had taken a year to raise the budgeted Rs 20 crore in the form of donations - through the online medium, during public meetings and via door-to-door collections. The party had received an average Rs 7-8 lakh a day during its campaign.
This time, according to a party member, AAP is looking for "big-ticket donations" and its team for this purpose will hold one-on-one discussions with the people they think can contribute Rs 50 lakh or more - a likely focus shift from the common man to rich donors.
These representatives, spread across the country, will also seek donations from outside India. The party gets around 25 per cent of its funding from abroad.
AAP sounds confident about this strategy. "We will soon get those donations and we have some big names that are willing to contribute," said the party member.
The party's state-level teams have also been sounded to form donation-specific teams. At present, AAP has units in 20 states.
The party's campaign around the turn of the year, under which it urged its supporters to donate Rs 2,014, was received very well and AAP raised that sum from a little more than 5,000 people.