NEW DELHI: Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has spent about Rs. 78 crore annually on advertisements in the first four years of its tenure, while the previous Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government in its third term had spent about Rs. 19 crore annually on advertisements, according to information sought through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The RTI sought by news agency IANS said while between 2008 and 2012, the Congress government led by Sheila Dikshit spent Rs. 75.9 crore, on an average annual expenditure of Rs. 18.97 crore, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government had spent Rs. 311.78 crore on advertisements between 2015 and 2019, on an average of Rs. 77.94 crore annually, four times that of the Congress.
However, the average advertisement rate charged by leading daily newspapers now has gone up by 20-40 percent when compared to the time of the Congress governments.
The AAP came to power in 2015 and spent Rs. 81.23 crore on advertisements in 2015-16 and in 2016-17, the expenditure was Rs. 67.25 crore, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to the RTI application.
The Delhi government saw its maximum expenditure on advertisements in 2017-18 when it spent Rs. 117.76 crore. The expenditure went down toRs. 45.54 crore in 2018-19.
“The Delhi government had spent Rs. 29.92 crore till July 31 in the financial year 2019-20,” the RTI said.
This includes outdoor publicity, electronic media, print media, and others as a whole under the head ‘Advertisement and Publicity’.
The Congress government, in its third term (2008-13) spent Rs. 24.58 crore in 2008-09 on advertisements, Rs. 15.35 crore in 2009-10 and Rs. 17.87 crore in 2010-11. In 2011-12, it spent Rs. 18.10 crore and Rs. 11.18 crore in 2012-13.
Dikshit was the Chief Minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms between 1998 and 2013. Kejriwal came to power after defeating her and formed a government with the support from the Congress. However, he resigned in less than two months.
The city again went to polls in February 2015, when the AAP bagged 67 of the 70 Assembly seats. The tenure of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government is ending in February 2020.
Since the AAP came to power, the opposition BJP has been attacking the ruling party for spending too much on advertisements.