Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP came in for sharp criticism after a Right to Information (RTI) query revealed that the party spent nearly Rs 15 crore on advertisements in the print media during the 91-day period till May 11. The party which stormed to power winning 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi has also been criticised for allocating over a whopping Rs 500 crore plus for advertising and publicity in its state budget.
It has now once again come under the attack of political opponents after an RTI reply revealed that the Delhi government disbursed a total amount of Rs 14.56 crore for advertising excluding broadcast from February 10 to May 11.
Interestingly, the list of publications which had received money from the Kejriwal government for carrying the advertisements also includes dailies from Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu and other states where party is not even in a fray or a serious player.
Congress party, which ruled Delhi for three successive terms until December 2013 was the first one to attack AAP government over its budget on advertising campaigns.
“On one hand we don’t have money to pay to safai karamcharis for salary, on one hand we don’t have money even to pay for pension but on the other they are spending huge amounts (for advertisements) for self publicity,” Congress leader and former New Delhi MP Ajay Maken said.
The RTI was filed by Delhi-based lawyer Aman Panwar
Recently, in the just concluded Budget session of the Parliament, the house was told that the Delhi government spent around Rs 5 crore in publicising the two rounds of the odd-even scheme.
The road rationing scheme was implemented for 15 days each in January and April this year respectively. While the latest round of scheme is still under the ambit of assessment, opposition BJP has dubbed it as a publicity stunt.
Informing Parliament, MoS for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said that expenditure of print media stood at Rs 1.67 crore while an amount of Rs 3.72 crore was spent to advertise the road-rationing policy on electronic media.
“As informed by the government of NCT of Delhi, the total expenditure on odd and even campaign so far is Rs 539.41 lakh (Rs 5.39 crore),” the Minister said in reply to a question.
(With inputs from the Agencies)