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BJP 'cash' in on Cong's ‘Donate for Desh’ gaffe as latter forgets to register domain!

New Delhi: The Congress has sought money through crowdfunding under its ‘Donate for Desh’ campaign but that may land in the coffers of BJP or a media website if an intended donor is not careful!

A day after the Congress launched a campaign to push its donation drive, it emerged that two domains related to the campaign – donatefordesh.org and donatefordesh.com – were registered by the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as OpIndia respectively.

The party launched its programme on Monday with its president Mallikarjun Kharge donating Rs 1.38 lakh through a dedicated website but a technical issue has now cropped up with it failing to register the domain name ‘Donate for Desh’ before announcing it.

An oversight by the Congress team appeared to have triggered a problem for their campaign, which the party says is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Tilak Swaraj Fund’ for raising funds for the non-cooperation movement.

Cashing in on the lapse, BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya took potshots at Congress’s social media head Supriya Shrinate. “Let alone domains, the Congress didn’t even block SM accounts. Check out @donatefordesh, for instance. And these people want to run the country,” Malviya posted on X.

In response, Congress Social Media and Digital Platforms Chairpersons Supriya Shrinate said, “Why is BJP so scared despite having autocratic power, all institutions under its belt, all resources and maximum money? When Congress started the donation campaign, not only did they panic but their system also started creating fake domains to confuse.”

“You can donate for the Congress’ ‘Donate for Desh’ programme only through the domain http://donateinc.in. By the way, thanks for copying us – it’s good to see your fear,” she added.

A senior BJP leader, involved with the party’s digital imprint, told DH on conditions of anonymity that they saw a chance and they took it. “The first thing that you do when you announce a campaign is that you lock the social media accounts, and you book the related domains – whether it is .org or .com or .in. But the people within the Congress were sleeping, somebody saw it and bought it,” the leader said.

The leader said that this exposes the “stupidity” of the people associated with the Congress social media.

A senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named, said that tagline for the donation drive was “For a Behtar Bharat” and “Donate For Desh” was supposed to be its social media hashtag. “The BJP’s dirty tricks department is creating a non-issue,” the leader said.

The ‘Donate for Desh’ initiative comes at a time the Congress coffers’ have depleted and it would need funds for Lok Sabha elections in April-May. The Congress said the programme is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Tilak Swaraj Fund’ for raising funds for the non-cooperation movement.

Launching the programme, Kharge said, “if you just keep collecting money from the rich, then one will have to make policies and programmes according to their wishes. Our party has always been with the underprivileged, Dalits, adivasis, OBCs, minorities and upper castes. We want to help them.”

Ek mahine ki tankhaw gayi (one month’s salary is gone),” Kharge said in a lighter vein.

The crowdfunding initiative has an online as well as offline component. With the party completing 138 years on December 28, the party is asking supporters to donate in multiples of Rs 138 – for eg, Rs 138, Rs 1,380, Rs 13,800 or more – symbolising the party’s enduring commitment to a better India.

“This is more than a campaign. It is a commitment to uphold the rights of marginalised communities, to bridge disparities, and to be a formidable opposition against a government favouring the affluent. We are fighting against unprecedented unemployment and rising costs,” Congress Treasurer Ajay Maken said.

The campaign primarily will be online till December 28 after which a door-to-door campaign by volunteers, targeting at least ten houses in every booth for contributions of at least Rs 138, will be initiated. The party has set up two channels – www.donateinc.in and www.inc.in – for online crowdfunding.

Congress General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal said state presidents have been asked to identify potential donors among well-wishers and functionaries aiming for contributions for Rs 1,380 or Rs 13,800.

(Published 18 December 2023, 17:06 IST)

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