Aam Aadmi Party’s NRI helpline dries up

NEW DELHI: The Congress hand continues to support the Aam Aadmi Party, but the foreign hand that funds the party liberally is beginning to pull back. A growing number of Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) living in New Zealand, Australia and the United States are so annoyed with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over its style of governance and recent actions that they are now actively campaigning against it on Facebook.

The Facebook group started by these NRIs is called: “I Am Sorry I Voted For AAP”. The anti-AAP page has under a hundred followers now, but the impact on the NRI funding pipeline is huge. Most of the NRI contributors to AAP have been giving lakhs of rupees at a time, making their kind a lifeline for the new political outfit.

It’s going to hurt. The six days starting January 15, since Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s now infamous midnight raid, have seen the party receive less money in donations than any other day since December 12. Before January 15, the party was receiving donations from NRIs in excess of Rs 10 lakh a day, but over the past week the party has received amounts only in the thousands or even less from foreign contributors.

The party received Rs 21 lakh as donation on December 28, when they formed the Delhi. Following that, the party was getting donations in excess of Rs 40 lakh every day. The average daily donation after January 17 is Rs 6 lakh; between January 2 and 16 the daily donations were more than six times that.

“They have done no governance since they stepped into power. Rather, the party has only engaged in activities which are meaningless and not a matter of priority. Every step this government has taken in the past month is for their own political gains and has done nothing for the betterment of the people living in the Capital. We thought that they are the change we need, but instead they are worse than the existing political parties,” Ellapparaj Ravi, an NRI from New Zealand and founder of the Facebook page told Mail Today. Ravi and his family donated in excess of Rs 4 lakh to the party before the Delhi Assembly elections last year.

The Facebook page has 82 members who feel the same way and are apologizing to the people of Delhi who they had supported and influenced to vote for AAP. “We establish this page to show our regrets for voting AAP in a recent election. We apologize to rest of the Indian Aam Aadmi for our serious mistake,” the page reads. According to Ravi, every one of these 82 members has donated in large amounts to AAP.

“Not only had we (his family) donated Rs 2 lakh to AAP before their elections, but more importantly, my family living in Delhi had gone out of their way to support and campaign with their local AAP candidate to ensure his victory. But every step the party has taken since they have come into power is to showboat and gain media coverage, while youngsters continue to be unemployed, electricity bills are still sky- high and Delhiites struggle for water,” Alagappan, another NRI living in Hamilton, New Zealand said.

Adding to that, Nagendra Krishna Ramachandran, presently working in Pennsylvania, US, revealed that he had convinced his family in Tamil Nadu to donate money for AAP, despite the party not supporting the protesters against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant project.

“It is tragic that after all the revolutionary phase in Indian politics that we witnessed, we’ve ended up electing buffoons all over again,” he said. His friend Venkataramani Govindasamy, whose family lives in South Delhi’s Alaknanda apartments said: “My parents want me to come back to Delhi to set up a business worth millions, but after witnessing the political satire in the Capital I am weary of leaving my permanent resident status in Australia and coming home.”