Kejriwal's appeal wins funds for AAP

New Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is known for doing things differently. Still, when the former tax examiner made an emotional appeal for funds for his political party this week, saying it was broke, critics took it as a sign of his dipping popularity just five months after sweeping to power.

"You will say I am a weird chief minister for asking for funds like this. You will say we made him chief minister, still he is asking for money," said Mr Kejriwal in an appeal made through Asian News International on Tuesday. "We can get money the wrong way but that is not who we are," he added .

People took to social media to criticise him for the appeal, but within 24 hours, the party's donations had spiked from a couple of thousand rupees a day to 1,265,836 rupees (S$27,250) from 866 donors, many from outside Delhi.

The financial problems are the latest in a series of troubles for Mr Kejriwal, who rose to prominence campaigning against corruption.

His party came to power after winning 67 of the 70 seats in New Delhi elections in February this year- the first major electoral setback for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which had seemed unassailable since its storming general election victory in May last year.

Yet the AAP government, which had promised to break the political mould, ran into trouble early on.

Tense infighting in the first few months led to the ouster of founders such as lawyer Prashant Bhushan, and a high-profile battle for control of the capital continues with Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung and the federal government.

The arrest and subsequent resignation of law minister Jitender Singh Tomar last month over fraud charges relating to fake college degrees also generated unwanted publicity.

Analysts said that Mr Kejriwal's credibility had taken a beating in the past couple of months.

Nirmala Ganapathy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline 'Kejriwal's appeal wins funds for AAP'. Print Edition | Subscribe