The money collected via donations by India Against Corruption (IAC) has already been spent or will be spent as expenses towards holding the week-long fast at Delhi and Mumbai, leaving Anna Hazare’s new political party without a sound financial foundation.
Arvind Kejriwal’s NGO Public Cause Research Foundation had collected the money donated in Delhi, while Mayank Gandhi’s NGO JNM collected the funds in Mumbai. The donations collected in Delhi amounted to as much as Rs 31 lakh, while the amount collected in Mumbai was a mere Rs 2.84 lakh.
According to people in both cities, the total money collected would fall short in covering the expenses they had made for the fast. An IAC coordinator from Delhi said, “Whatever we had collected was put up online for everyone to see. We haven’t calculated our expenses yet, but till now, setting up the tents, sending SMS messages, logistics and other expenses will have eaten into our funds.”
Similarly, Anjali Damania, the coordinator in Mumbai claimed that they would have to add money from their pockets to meet the expenses of the fast that took place at Azad Maidan. “We accepted donations only via cheques and collected only nearly Rs 2.84 lakh, which is significantly less than what we spent,” she said.
While Mumbai collected donations only in form of cheques, IAC Delhi collected money on the day the fast started at Jantar Mantar.
Even if the foundations wanted to fund the political party, it wouldn’t be an easy task. According to advocate Dipesh Siroya, “The groups won’t be able to fund the political party, as the money collected would be used to meet the aim of the trust.”
Prakash Dubey, former chief income tax commissioner for Mumbai region, claimed that if the NGOs give away the money to a political party, it wouldn’t fit their aim and objectives. “Giving out money for a political party to fight the elections won’t fall under their aim and objectives,” said Dubey.
Meanwhile, IAC claimed that they haven’t decided how to collect funds for the political party. “The decision on these issues will be taken in the long run by top leaders,” said a coordinator.
When Anna Hazare first went on fast at Jantar Mantar, it wasn’t known that he would announce the floating of a new political party. However, on Monday, he went a step ahead and dissolved the familiar Team Anna. This, according to the IAC volunteers, was an expected move.
“The way a few people are trying to portray today’s announcement is an attempt to show that Anna is trying to be the high command, which isn’t true. On Sunday evening it was discussed and only after everyone’s opinion was taken, the decision was taken to dissolve the core committee,” said Damania.
Damania further added that in Mumbai, all the top people in IAC had decided to stay away from politics. “We will look for candidates and help them in achieving the goals but we won’t get into politics,” she said.