Having run out of funds for election campaigning, Dalit activist and Vadgam Congress candidate Jignesh Mevani has launched a crowdfunding campaign.
Launched last week, it has so far garnered support from over 600 people with individual contributions ranging from ₹10 to ₹49,000. So far, over ₹6 lakh have been donated to the campaign, which was launched last week on the website ourdemocracy.in.
Top donors include Ramesh Jha (₹49,000), Teesta Setalvad (₹30,000), Daxesh Makwana (₹25,000), Pinky Chauhan (₹22,222), Shruti Chaturvedi (₹21,000), and Aakar Patel (₹1,999), among others.
The Grand Old Party’s young candidate has ruled out raising any funds from industrialists or corporates for his election campaigning.
“When a leader fights an election on the money of corporates, they will work in the interest of the corporates. But I have always fought for the rights and upliftment of poor, oppressed, and the marginalised,” he said calling for donations.
Speaking to businessline, Mevani said, “The money that the party has committed for campaigning isn’t sufficient to meet our expenses. Therefore, we have launched crowdfunding to raise the required funds.”
Mevani has set a target to raise ₹40 lakh before the campaigning ends for the polls. Vadgam will vote in the second phase of the Gujarat elections on December 5.
While promising “best governance to the people of Gujarat” and bringing them out of the miseries, allegedly inflicted on them by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Mevani made a crowdfunding pitch, stating, “Though BJP has the support of the state machinery and the backing of corporates, you can be my strength. I need your support to fight this election. I am running a donation campaign to fund my election.”
Other candidates also face inadequate funding
Interestingly, Congress sources in Gujarat informed that Mevani wasn’t the only one raising the issues of inadequate fund allocation by the party as more than one candidate raised issues of insufficient funds for poll campaigning in their respective constituencies.
But for Mevani, crowdfunding isn’t a new experiment. In 2017, he contested as an independent candidate and won from the Vadgam constituency, a reserved seat for scheduled caste with the use of crowdfunded support.
The contributions he reportedly received then ranged between ₹100 to as high as ₹3 lakh by author Arundhati Roy. Mevani had secured 95,497 votes and defeated BJP’s Vijay Chakravarty by a margin of 19,696 votes.