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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Forget flights, no money to purchase a train ticket: Tax-hit Congress eyes crowdfunding

The Kerala unit has a task at hand as Rahul Gandhi has been renominated from Wayanad, where finding financial resources locally will be a challenge. State Congress president V.D. Satheesan on Tuesday said the party would have to launch crowdfunding to overcome the crisis

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 27.03.24, 06:49 AM
Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi File picture

The Congress in Kerala is planning crowd-sourcing in view of the high command’s advice to state units to find their own funds for election campaign because of the freeze on the party’s bank accounts over tax arrears.

The Kerala unit has a task at hand as Rahul Gandhi has been renominated from Wayanad, where finding financial resources locally will be a challenge. State Congress president V.D. Satheesan on Tuesday said the party would have to launch crowdfunding to overcome the crisis.

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“The Congress is facing a severe financial crunch across the nation. Forget about paying for a flight ticket, we don’t have money to purchase a train ticket,” Satheesan told reporters on Tuesday in Thiruvananthapuram.

“India is being ruled by a fascist regime that has, in an unprecedented act, frozen the Congress party’s bank accounts. The people are aware of this and hence I am sure they will help us by voting for us and providing financial support,” he added.

“If the situation warrants, we will launch crowdfunding. Right now the people are ready to provide financial help whenever we meet them (during the campaign),” Satheesan said, adding the voters empathise with the Congress’s plight. “They offer Rs 50, 100 and 200 to our party workers.”

With Rahul seeking reelection from Wayanad that sent him to the Lok Sabha with a thumping majority of over 4 lakh votes in 2019, local leaders are also looking at other options to bolster the funds.

“We have scheduled a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to assess the situation and work out ways to find financial resources,” Wayanad panchayat president and district youth Congress chief Shamshad Marakkar told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

One of the biggest challenges in a constituency like Wayanad is the resources available locally. “There is a limit for approaching local traders for funds in a small place like Wayanad. But the expenses are huge since we have to pay for transporting party workers and supporters to public meetings, cough up rent for local offices that operate during elections, and pay electricity bills and phone bills,” he said.

“There are 585 booths in Wayanad. So even if we spend a nominal amount of Rs 1,000 per booth, it translates to more than Rs 5 lakh. In reality, we will have to spend much more since this is an important election,” said Marakkar, who is among the key organisers of the campaign in Wayanad.

“We don’t know how much money the AICC would be able to provide. But it’s our duty to ensure the campaign doesn’t get hit by funds shortage,” he added.

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