7 LS candidates of AAP face severe poll-fund crunch in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, Apr 14: The Aam Aadmi Party, which jumped into the electoral fray accusing Congress and BJP of favouring 'crony-capitalism', seems to be doing 'poorly' in Gujarat as seven of its Lok Sabha nominees have managed to get only Rs 10 as poll funds.

According to the party's official website, AAP's Ravji Paramar from Anand L S seat, Arjun Rathwa from Chhota Udepur, K C Munia from Dahod, Rajendra Jhala from Jamnagar, Labhu Badhiwala from Kheda, Vandana Patel from Mehsana and Mehul Patel from Navsari have barely touched the double digit mark in poll-funds.

Those candidates who have managed to reached three figures are: Sanjay Raval (Rs 611) from Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat, Mansukh Dhokhi (Rs 100) and Jetha Patel (Rs 733) from Surendranagar. Atul Shekhda from Junagadh seat is on the top with the poll-fund of Rs 33,321, followed by Amreli's candidate Nathalal Sukhadia with Rs 30,977.

AAP's 24 candidates have been contesting the Lok Sabha election, out of which 21 candidates' fund details are available with the party. If the entire fund of the party's LS candidates in Gujarat is put together, it totals to Rs 1.31 lakh. While some candidates believe this fund-cruch is posing problems during election time, the party is still maintaining that they are getting good support.

"We are the new party so we have not got good amount of funds, we are facing a huge problem as party-workers have to spend their own money in campaigning," AAP's Anand nominee Ravji Parmar said. "Some of the good people around them arrange tea and refreshments for party-workers while some of them have provided their offices for party activities," he said.

Patel says they are campaigning in the area of poor people so they do not prefer to ask for donation. Vandana Patel, a candidate from Mehsana seat, initially said she is getting sufficient funds. However, she feigned ignorance about the party's website detail which suggests she has only got Rs 10.

"Our well wishers are funding us, but sometimes we can not send those details to party office," Patel said, adding she does not have much information on her poll-funds.

AAP's Chhota Udepur candidate Arjun Rathwa, who will face a four-wing battle against Congress' Naran Rathwa, BJP's Ramsinh Rathwa and JDU's Kishor Vasava has also got Rs 10 as poll fund.

"I got only ten rupees. We did not get good funds as it is a tribal area, it is an area of poor people. Some of the people are helping voluntarily, but the situation is really problematic for us," Arjun Rathwa told PTI.

However, party's state spokesperson Harshil Nayak denied the crunch and said, "Our website must have not been updated or it may be reflecting online funds."

Political analyst Dinesh Shukla sees the fund-crunch difficulty of AAP as less support from mass. "They (AAP) are not a well-known face in Gujarat so they have not been getting people's support. This is the reason behind the fund crunch of their candidate," he said.

Shukla also said people do have much faith in AAP as after the Delhi turnaround, the effect of which will be seen here too.

Also, AAP does not have workers who can go and collect funds.Congress and BJP have paid workers who can double their funds.

In such a context, they will be facing fund-crunches, Shukla said, adding AAP will also face difficulty in securing votes.

PTI

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