U’khand: BJP aims to raise Rs 25 crore as funds by Republic Day, opposition raises question
Dehradun, Jan 18: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand seems to be "running a marathon race" to raise a whopping Rs 25 crore funds by January 26.
On Wednesday, the BJP hosted a meeting of its state legislators in Dehradun to discuss its much-talked-about programme, "Aajiwan Sahyog Nidhi", which aims to collect funds for the party, stated a report by ANI.
However, MLAs who took part in the meeting told reporters that they were not been given any target as such.
The ANI report added that the MLAs have assured that they will be able to collect a fund of Rs 25 crore by January 26, which also happens to be Republic Day.
The BJP stated that the aim of the fundraising drive is to connect people to the saffron party.
"Everyone has been given different targets. In Almora, it is Rs 1 crore. People who want to donate are welcome. The main motive is to connect people to the party. When they donate, they connect with the BJP from the heart," Mahesh Negi, BJP MLA from Dwarahat, told ANI.
The latest initiative of the BJP has been criticised by the Congress. The opposition parties called the fundraising drive "anti-people".
"The BJP is keen on getting funds for the party, but least bothered about problems of the people. All they care about is collecting Rs 25 crore or Rs 40 crore. Are the MLAs supposed to collect funds or work for people?" asked Suryakant Dhasmana, vice-president, Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC).
In reply to the criticism, the BJP said all political parties need funds to survive.
"Every party needs funds. We used to ask workers to donate to the party but now extended it to common man too to contribute as they wish. We are receiving funds only through cheque and demand draft. We are not accepting funds from government employees, officers or crooks," said Ajay Bhatt, BJP state president.
Due to lack of transparency, funding for political parties is a controversial subject in India.
Ironically, the BJP government at the Centre recently announced the introduction of new electoral bonds that donors can buy from the State Bank of India (SBI). The initiative is an attempt to ensure more transparent financing of political parties participating in elections.
Opposing the government's move, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury termed the idea of electoral bonds "regressive" and pitched for state funding of political parties and a ban on the flow of corporate funds directly to them.
Last year, the BJP won 57 seats in the 70-member Uttarakhand legislative assembly during the elections. The opposition Congress managed to get only 11 seats. Trivendra Singh Rawat is the chief minister of the state.