New Delhi: The BJP-led NDA government has recently released data to counter the allegation that they spent more on advertisement in their 5 years-tenure than the previous Congress-led UPA government and the reports are shocking. 

According to the data, while the NDA government bought 460 million cm of advertisement space in print media from 2014-15 to 2018, the UPA government bought 560 million cm between 2010 and 2014. 

However, though the NDA government bought less space, it ended up paying Rs 2,156.22 crore compared to UPA’s Rs 1,896.73 crore expenditure as the prices for advertisements have gone up. 

A government official, according to Hindustan Times, said, “If we were to put a value to the space that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government paid for, in term of the current rates, it works out to Rs 2,558 crore.”

However, these numbers include only print media and not electronic and digital media.

The bureau of outreach and communication submitted details to the Parliament, which revealed that the Union government, between financial year 2014-15 and July 2018, spent at least Rs 4,880 crore in advertisements across electronic, print and other media. While Rs 979.78 crore was spent in 2014-15, Rs 1,160.16 crore, Rs 1,264.26 crore and Rs 1,313.57 were spent in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively. 

A BJP leader also pointed out that the then Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi featured in many of the ads released by the UPA, along with the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

“In most of the advertisements issued, whether they were about the LPG scheme or old age pension, Sonia Gandhi’s photograph was carried in addition to that of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” he added as reported. 

However, the Congress refuted all these claims. Manish Tewari, the former minister for information and broadcasting, said, “No amount of chicanery or spin can cover up the reality of cold numbers. The NDA has outspent its predecessors.”

He also lambasted the BJP for being an individual-centric party and said that the UPA advertisement had photographs of Gandhi as she was the elected chairperson of the UPA government. 

Meanwhile, the government has hiked by 25 percent the rates at which the Bureau of Outreach and Communication releases its advertisements to the print media.

The government said the decision will be of great benefit especially to the medium and small newspapers, including a large number of such papers in regional and vernacular languages. The opposition Congress, however, termed it as "yet another tactic" of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to try and change the narrative in its favour.