With severe shortage of funds and manpower, Irom Sharmila’s party Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) has taken to online crowdfunding to raise funds and campaigning on cycle to reach out to the masses.
PRJA is the first regional party in Manipur which has resorted to crowdfunding to finance the poll expenses in the state. According to PRJA sources, online crowdfunding with a slogan “Ten For a Change” is an idea in order to involve more people, bring in transparency in election funding and reach out to the masses.
The PRJA so far has collected Rs 4.5 lakh through crowdfunding. “The online crowdfunding is in line with the party’s call for accountable governance. When we started the party there was a lot of need for funds. Online funds are transparent and normally political parties face a backlash because they don’t have transparency in their funds,” PRJA’s convener, Erendro Leichonbam told. “We want to play a positive part in the politics of India, that’s why we launched the crowd funding. From the beginning itself every single rupee is accounted for and we know who has donated it unlike others who don’t disclose majority of their fund sources,” he added.
Irom Sharmila, while briefing about the idea of online crowdfunding, said, “Online crowd-fund is also aimed at ending muscle and money power in elections. Our aim is to change the system for a better Manipur.” Erendo says, the iconic stature and acceptance of Irom across the country has helped the party in organising this programme.
PRJA is contesting in three seats in the 60 member assembly. Sharmila herself is fighting against Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in Thoubal constituency.
In terms of poll campaign too, PRJA is trying to bring in a new trend in reaching out to the people by cycling through the streets of the constituencies. Even as candidates of BJP and Congress have chosen going on foot or car as a primary mode of campaign, Sharmila is using cycle to campaign in various constituencies including Thoubal constituency where she is fighting the polls. The party candidates are also using cycle as the mode of campaign in the districts.
According to PRJA leaders, Sharmila’s passion for cycling has also shown her a way to get close to the people of her state and spread her vision and seek support for her party. “It also helps to stay healthy and saves a lot of money,” said a PRJA leader.
According to Erendo, apart from cycling in the constituency and personally talking to the people, PRJA is holding small personal meetings in each and every household of the three constituencies.