The Power of Your Rs. 100 To Change Politics in India

You must be wondering how Rs. 100 can change politics in India! Is the author nuts to believe in this absurd idea? Our politicians spend crores on even municipal elections. Where is the question of changing politics with Rs. 100?

Here is the story. This is the story of why politics in India breeds corruption and crony capitalism. This is the story of why governments seem insensitive to people and their needs. Why governments seem to be favoring few individuals, business owners and contractors.

The root cause of political corruption leading to our politicians enriching themselves or their friends is hidden political funding. If a politicians spends his own funds, he wants to recover it by dipping into govt spending. If the politicians is funded by friends and associates, they want favors so that their businesses can grow and flourish. The common man is ignored and left helpless after voting based on the promises made by the ruling party. The elected representatives become unavailable and the common man has to even pay bribes to be heard.

According to ADR report 80% of political funding of BJP & Congress is from unknown sources. It creates a government with vested interests and loyalty of government is always leaning towards their funding agencies instead of the welfare of AAM AADMI. The recent change of higgen corporate bonds for political donation has made it worse.

So how does YOUR Rs. 100 change politics in India? If millions of voters decide to fund a political party with say Rs. 100 a month, there will be no need to accept large donations from any political party. A political party needs some funds to run its programs and campaigns — expenses for meetings, rallies, travel, banners and increasingly IT & social media spends are common. During elections, they also need funds for election campaigns. If this need is met with large number of small donations, the political party is not under obligation to select “rich’ people as its candidates. They don’t need to spend their “own” money and look to recover their “investments”. Since the party is not dependent on any few rich businesses for large donations, they can refuse policy or contracts which don’t favor the common people.

If this just wishful thinking? Not at all. The recent experience from Delhi has shown that Aam Aadmi Party led government has had the courage to stand up to private school owners and force them to refund excess fees charged. Other parties would have colluded with the school owners and “settled” the issue but AAP stuck to the rights of parents and ensured refunds were approved and ordered by the courts. Similarly, the AAP govt has been able to get hospitals to meet its commitment of treating poor people free of cost. Bad politics leads to rules & laws being ignored and/or broken with the common man suffering the most. Good politics leads to rules being enforced for the benefit of citizens.

This week, the AAP issued a call for Rs. 100 donations. In an emotional email, the AAP chief, Arvind Kejriwal wrote “All it will take is 100 from each and everyone of us! Pledge your support today to root out corruption from Political Funding in India.” AAP’s donation server started buzzing within hours of this appeal and within less than 30 hours, AAP collected more than Rs. 30 lacs from 3600+ donors. Students, unemployed youth, professionals, regular donors all contributed with gusto. After all Rs. 100 is highly affordable and has a low barrier for almost all. The fact that the appeal was made on Dhanteras day, a special day during Diwali festivities was the icing on the cake.

So if you appeal for Rs. 100 donation, do you get only Rs. 100 donation? Yes and no. For a large number of donors who are limited by resources, the Rs. 100 number is the trigger. Over 1800 donors donated Rs. 100 based on the call. The others moved up by themselves and donated as per their ability. The average as you can work out is closer to Rs. 800 per donor.

If AAP or any other political party can create a system where 2–5 lac donors can donate Rs. 100 monthly, it will have enough resources to fund all political events/needs. With mobile wallets, UPI based payments and recurring digital channels, this should be possible to setup. One key advantage of these donations is that they are all trackable and fully transparent (KYC is at the highest level). I believe that such a scenario will also put pressure on other political parties to change and adopt the same funding route — after all politics is a competitive sport and one party can not let another have unchallenged advantage. Clean political funding is a huge advantage enjoyed by AAP presently.

Now imagine that most political parties have moved to a transparent, small funding model. Will there still be need to have corrupt & criminal legislators. Will there be a need to “listen to” businesses and their interests? Will there be a need for garish political spends? Bribing the voters? I think not. If you have a million-people donating Rs. 100 a month, you are guaranteed at least a million votes too!

So now do you believe that YOUR Rs 100 a month can change politics in India? If you do, please donate to any political party of your choice and see for yourself this power at work. Lets express ourselves and demand transparent political funding from our parties. Lets use the power of our Rs. 100 to change politics in India.