AAP used Delhi taxpayers’ money to promote Dadri lynching story with digital ads?

On Friday, October 14, the three-member committee formed by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung submitted its report about AAP-led Delhi Government’s expenditure on ads that targeted people living in areas outside Delhi.

The report pointed out that AAP spent Rs 1.58 crores on online advertisements during last year and these ads were targeted at audiences from Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Goa. As the selected set of target audiences live beyond Delhi Government’s geographical jurisdiction, it is clear that the money was spent on fulfilling AAP’s political ambitions in states that will face elections soon.

The report also highlighted the point that concerned digital advertisements were run on Facebook, video sharing site-YouTube, and on Google search.

Thanks to enhanced digital marketing options, advertisers can target their advertisements at people living in any particular geographical location. But, legally, AAP Government can spend money only on ads that target people from Delhi.

Even CAG’s report released in August had pointed that AAP is misusing Delhi taxpayers’ money on promoting itself in states other than Delhi. It focused on AAP’s expenditure on print, radio, and television ads that glorified Kejriwal.

Believe it or not, but according to one report published by the Indian Express, AAP spent taxpayers’ money on digital ads that promoted Dadri lynching incident related story.  Now the question, why did AAP use Delhi Government’s funds to pay for promotion of Dadri story? Did they aim to disturb the communal harmony in the country and trigger intolerance debates?

AAP should not only pay back the expenditure to Delhi Government, but it should also explain its intentions behind running ad campaigns to promote Dadri incident story.

Central Government should ask the Home Ministry as well as the Information & Broadcast Ministry to do a follow up on CAG’s report as well as on the report submitted by a three-member committee to LG Najeeb Jung yesterday. Central Government should find out if AAP’s ads aimed at defaming the center and disturbing communal harmony in the country.

Anyone who carefully watched news debates during last year can point out that Dadri incident was used by not just AAP, but several other political parties to trigger intolerance debate further.

It’s obvious that mainstream media may not find these facts interesting enough to organize debates on this issue. Delhiites must know how their CM Kejriwal is spending money on ads to gain political mileage instead of spending that money to open more hospitals and to treat dengue patients.  Hope people from Punjab and Goa also read what’s written in between the lines about AAP.

By: Nitten Gokhaley

The author is a consultant journalist. You can follow him on Twitter- nitten4u