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A chat with Yogendra Yadav costs you 5000 INR in Gurgaon
Recently, I received an email, which piqued my interest and made me question a number of things about Aam Aadmi Party. In a fund-raising event, to chat with Yogendra Yadav- the leader of Aam Aadmi Party from Gurgaon, one needs to pay 5000 rupees. Agreed, it is a fundraising event and every party needs money to carry on with their campaign, but being a party of the comman man, shouldn't they be more accessible? On the other hand, BJP was recently seen distributing free tea to their supporters. Doesn't the AAP people feel that they are going wrong somewhere and that this might not bore well with everyone. Trying to understand the situation, I talked to a number of people, associated and not associated with AAP. The outcome was interesting.

Mangat Ram Bagri, MCG, Councillor of Ward 10 Gurgaon scoffed at the whole thing and blatantly said (and I translate), ''When it was time to work for the party, then they did nothing and now they are wasting people's money and time. The people chose them, but still they did nothing concrete and now they have are trying to get money for their campaign with these methods.'' Many would say his views are biased as he is AAP's competitors but it was surprising to heard AAP members of Gurgaon mouth almost the same words.

Expressing shock and disbelief of the move, Ranesh Yadav, Convener of the Haryana AAP team said, ''I don't have any knowledge of this move but if this is happening then it is wrong. I am not at all supporting this move. We work against these kinds of moves and now we are indulging in them. If this is true then we are deviating from my path.'' I, myself, was in for a shock when I called Secretary Balbir Singh, AAP of Gurgaon only to be told that due to corruption in the party and these kinds of ethical fallouts, he has resigned from the party yesterday.

The question remains that now they are charging 5000 for a meeting and 20,000 for dinner in Bangalore, what would they do next. The common man had quite a bit to say about this. In his Facebook update, Pravin Rukhiyar, asked a vital question, ''If BJP or Congress would have invite 'Aam Aadmi' for one time dinner worth Rs. 10000, what could be the reaction of Mr. Kejriwal?'' Ashim Sunam, who is mostly apolitical in his views feels strongly for the matter to raise his voice. Rejecting the process outright he said, “ AAP is just following NaMo's footsteps and is trying to outdo what NaMo is setting out for. Just by replicating Modi's thought, it would not garner votes.''

Alekhya Bolla also says, “ I am a 'Aam Aadmi' and I cannot afford 5000 for a cup of tea and to have a chat with someone who is not even taking the slightest bit of interest to campaign and reach out to people. I read he goes to Cyber Hub and to the interiors but what about people like us- who do not have 5000 for a chat? Are we not important.''

However, National Spokesperson,AAP, Nisha Singh were quite affronted when we raised the matter with her. She said, '' there are a lot of public meetings happening all the time, but they are not talked about and that is the challenge. As for this particular event, we are raising funds for the party and we are not forcing anyone to pay anything.'' Adding to the statement, she also said, '' People can give whatever they wish to and in the meeting we would explain to them the expense, estimates that would go into the campaigning. We believe in complete transparency and that is what we would be providing them.''

The Aam Aadmi do not feel this way. Remaining anonymous, a resident of Gurgaon said, '' fund-raising activities are supposed to have a very humble call. It is nothing new. Every politician, including the American President organize or attend fund-raising sessions for various cause. A few days ago we saw BJP setting up NaMo Tea stalls to collect funds. We have seen comparatively poorer parties like Trinamool Congress do fund raising by auctioning paintings and handicraft goods created by the party leaders. People do not buy a painting of Mamata Banerjee to hang it in their drawing room beside MF Hussain. They buy it to donate funds to the party and they submit to the call of the party leader they believe in. At the same time Why did Mamata Bannerjee take time to paint and then sell it for fund raising? She could have just asked for it anyway from the person who already has a intent to donate. It's all about humbleness.''

He continued ,''Calling people to chat with Yogendra Yadav and buy a ticket of INR 5000 for it, is a little arrogant. What will people chat about? What value add will take home by listening to the man? AAP really needs to have a re-look at their strategy. Placing Yogendra Yadav in a setup like Warren Buffet speaking about Investments, is sheer arrogance and stupidity.''

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