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Rahul Gandhi goes Obama way: Crowdfunding becomes Congress party’s new mantra

Kartikeya Sharma

Rahul Gandhi goes Obama way: Crowdfunding becomes Congress party’s new mantra

Congress party has deployed a team of young professionals to organize crowdfunding for Rajasthan assembly elections which are due to be held in November 2018. The obvious reason is that the coffers of the Congress party aren’t that deep anymore because of its reduced strength in Lok Sabha and few governments across the states in the country. The second reason is that Congress wants to use crowdfunding not only as a tool to gather money but also a mode to reach out to ordinary citizens. 

Former United States President Barak Obama had used crowdfunding as a tool to connect to ordinary citizens and changed the way US elections were fought. Today billions of dollars are being raised through crowdfunding throughout the world. The World Bank predicts that global crowdfunding is expected to cross 93 billion by 2025. Former United States President Barak Obama raised 750 million dollars in 2008 elections out of which 600 million came from 3 million people which came down to 86 dollar per person. Even in 2011, he raised 614 million dollars in individual donations out of which 214 million dollars came from small donors.

Congress also wants to use crowdfunding as it pitches for clean money in politics. It is for this reason that Sachin Pilot, the Pradesh Congress Committee Chief, released a video appeal and requested people to contribute to the Congress through Sachin Pilot says that crowdfunding would create public stake and involvement in the election.

“The Rajasthan crowdfunding campaign is one among a series of campaigns the party is planning in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. The party leadership is seeking to inject transparency into campaign finance by bringing up clean funds,” said Divya Spandana, head of social media and digital communications for the Congress party.  “We understand that majority of Indians contribute through traditional methods but as our digital footprint grows across the country, more and more people are finding crowdfunding as a platform to directly connect with the Congress party,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Congress party announced its pilot crowdfunding campaign during Karnataka elections where a first-time candidate took on B Sreeramulu in the assembly elections. The second crowdfunding campaign was to offer support to 30-year-old Muktikant Biswal, a man from Odisha who walked 1400 km to Delhi urging the government to deliver on his promise made to the people of Rourkela.

The current crowdfunding campaign is being organized by Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Kanishka Singh and Divya Spandana.

(This article was first published on