Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party has spent about Rs 78 crore annually on advertisements in the first four years of its tenure, while the previous Sheila Dikshit 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 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, it is worth mentioning that the average advertisement rate charged by leading daily newspapers now has gone up by 20-40 per cent 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 to Rs 45.54 crore in 2018-19.
"The Delhi government had spent Rs 29.92 crore till July 31 in 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 Sheila Dikshit 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 Kejriwal 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.