Kejriwal Government Spent 22 Crores in 3 Months on Ads

NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal’s government, censured recently by judges for its enthusiasm on advertising its leader, has said that it spent 22 crores on 30 days of print and electronic promotions spread over a period of three months.

Mr Kejriwal has been taken to court by Congress leader Ajay Maken, who claimed today that the government has admitted that the advertising blitzkrieg employed taxpayers’ money. Mr Maken pointed out in a press release that the bill for the campaign is at par with the entire budget for publicity in the previous financial year.

In May, the Supreme Court ruled that politicians cannot use public funds for ads that glorify them or feature their pictures (the Prime Minister in an exception, as are the President and Chief Justice). Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, which won a dream result in December’s election, has admitted that to circumvent the restrictions, its ads do not show Mr Kejriwal, though they use his voice and offer his immoderate praise.

Last week, High Court judges said Mr Kejriwal’s government must explain how much it has spent on the ads that are running in heavy frequency on television and radio. The two judges hearing the case had observed that “prima facie what you (Delhi government) are doing is in violation of Supreme Court judgment” and with “public money”.

The next hearing in the case has been set for Wednesday.

When presenting its Budget for this year, Mr Kejriwal’s government said it had allocated nearly 500 crores for advertising; under fire, it then said the entire amount may not be utilised.