For a party which came to power on plank of non corruption and self proclaimed assertion of being a ‘common man’, Aam Aadmi Party seems far from common. As per reports, and RTI filed by IANS, the AAP Government has spent an average of Rs. 70.5 crore annually in past 3 years on advertisements, four times more than previous Congress Government. This includes expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising.
As per Hindustan Times report, in the first year of coming into power, Kejriwal Government spent Rs. 59.9 crore on advertisements. In the following year, the expenditure was Rs. 66.3 crore, which went up to Rs. 85.3 crore this year, averaging at Rs. 70.5 crore. Against this, the previous Congress Government spent Rs. 17.4 crore on an average in the last five years of its rule from 2008-13. The expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the chief minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.
Here, it should be noted that Delhi Government has given ads applauding Delhi Government work in publications in other parts of the country, like Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Gujarat. These states are so geographically apart that this appeared like a futile exercise in wasting public fund to sing their own praises.
In September 2016, the Central Government came down heavily on AAP for spending extravagantly, in violation of Supreme Court guidelines, asking AAP government to reimburse the ad expenditure back to the exchequer. Last year, in April, too, Kejriwal was asked to reimburse Rs. 97 crore his party spent on promotional advertisements.