BJP govt. spent ₹44 crore on media ads in four months ahead of Assembly polls, reveals RTI query

This was informed by the Department of Information and Public Relations in response to a Right to Information Act (RTI) query filed by Puttur-based activist Rajesh Krishnaprasad

May 28, 2023 08:38 pm | Updated 10:08 pm IST - Bengaluru

Image used for representative purpose only. File

Image used for representative purpose only. File | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

Bengaluru

The erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had spent ₹44.42 crore on advertisements in the print and the electronic media in four months ahead of the Assembly polls. The money was spent between December 1, 2022, and March 29, 2023. 

This was informed by the Department of Information and Public Relations in response to a Right to Information Act (RTI) query filed by Puttur-based activist Rajesh Krishnaprasad.

However, he did not receive details on the names of the media houses in which the government spent to place advertisements. It may be recalled that the model code of conduct came into being on March 29.

The response also shows that the government spent ₹27.46 crore on print media and ₹16.96 crore on electronic media for publicising their schemes, works, besides countering the then Opposition party’s campaigns, such as the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Mekedatu march, and others.

The BJP lost the elections securing 66 seats, while the Congress won 135. 

Mr. Krishnaprasad told The Hindu that while it is common for any government to spend on advertisements to spread awareness about its schemes, spending excessive money of taxpayers during elections just to woo voters is wrong.

“The BJP has spent nearly ₹50 crore and some of the ads were placed only to criticise the Opposition. How can the government Exchequer spend money on this,” he asked. 

Mr. Krishnaprasad said he had also asked for a break-up of the spendings on media houses, but it was not shared by the information officer.

Ramalinga Reddy, Minister, said the then BJP government had wasted the taxpayers’ money through this expenditure. The government’s job is to spend money responsibly, he said.

“After going through the details, I will file a complaint with the Lokayukta to initiate a probe into the same.”

On the other hand, Ganesh Karnik of the BJP said the amount spent is not huge and with competitive ad pricing, such costs are common. “The Delhi government had spent more than this for government ads,” he alleged.

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