Congress seeks EC probe into BJP becoming top TV advertiser

Manish Tewari

New Delhi, Nov 23: With the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data revealing the BJP to be the number one advertiser on television in the run-up to Assembly elections, the Congress on Friday demanded that the Election Commission take cognisance of the data and asses the impact of BJP’s advertisement spending on the ongoing polls in five states.

As per the BARC data, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) topped the rankings of advertisers across all TV channels for the week ended November 16, prompting the Congress to question its electoral funding.

“These advertisement spends by the BJP reflect a clear nexus between big businesses and big politicians… This is crony capitalism personified, this is the quintessential ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’,” Congress leader Manish Tewari told the media here citing the BARC data.

Flaying the Narendra Modi government for turning electoral funding “far more opaque” through the electoral bond schemes, the Congress demanded that the EC intervene, especially in view of the Assembly polls in the five states — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Telangana and Rajasthan — the results of which will be declared on December 11.

“The EC must summon this BARC data and need to find out how much money India’s top advertiser (BJP) has spent on these advertisements.

“We demand the EC take suo-motu cognisance of the BARC data, translate it into monetary spends and see what is the impact on electoral process. The EC must take serious cognisance of its impact on the probity transparency and integrity of the electoral process,” said the former Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

He also said the electoral bonds scheme has made political funding very opaque giving rise to crony capitalism.

“The ruling dispensation has access to source and final destination of the bonds which acts as deterrence for any company to try and fund an opposition party, especially when this government has unleashed central agencies on opposition parties and leaders, media houses or anyone who dares to oppose them,” added Tewari


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