Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejirwal on Saturday announced that he was donating Rs 50,000 towards Manipur activist Irom Sharmila’s party People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance for the Assembly elections in her state.
Later, an AAP MP, Bhagwant Mann, too, said he was donating a month’s salary – which amounts to nearly Rs 2 lakh – to Sharmila’s party.
Sharmila’s party has been trying to raise funds through crowdsourcing on the internet. Kejriwal appealed to others to donate to the fund. The party has raised Rs 4.5 lakh through its online appeal, PTI reported, though it is unclear if Kejriwal and Mann’s contributions have been counted. “Online funds are transparent and normally political parties face a backlash because they do not have transparency in their funds,” party convener Erendro Leichonbam told the news agency.
Sharmila had launched the PRJA on October 18, 2016, saying it would contest the 2017 Manipur elections. She had ended her 16-year fast against the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state on August 9.
The activist had declared her intention to set up a new party after her acquittal in an attempted suicide case by a district court in Imphal on October 6. “I hope I will accelerate my new mission to integrate with the people after my 16-year struggle with this [party],” she had said after the verdict. Sharmila will contest the polls from Thoubal, the home constituency of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, and her poll plank will be to withdraw the Act.
She was repeatedly arrested, released and rearrested on attempted suicide charges after she began fasting for the repeal of AFSPA from the state in November, 2000. The Act is enforced to bring under control areas that the government considered “disturbed”.
At least 215 candidates have filed their nomination papers from 38 constituencies for the first phase of the elections in Manipur , which will be on March 4. The second phase will be held on March 8.