Election Commission allows Political Ads on Metro Trains until Lok Sabha polls

BJP is spending approximately Rs 2 crore every day on outdoor advertisements alone

The BJP has decided to give Metro commuters a taste of its campaigning spree. No matter where commuters might look, the party’s prime minister nominee Narendra Modi can be seen greeting them.

And it is not just the Metro. According to the BJP sources, nearly 6,000 Modi hoardings and posters have been put up across the capital. Of these, 3,500 are inside Metro stations and on trains.

According to Eg. Communications, the agency to which the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has outsourced its advertisement space, Modi ads have been put up on 30 trains. Metro Line 2 has 10 trains, Line 3 and 4 has 5 trains each, while Line 5 has four and Line 6 has six trains.

This is the first time that political advertisements have been allowed on Metro trains as the DMRC guidelines are against putting up political advertisements.

“We have outsourced our ad space and it is prerogative of the agency, which bags the tender to display ads. But we do monitor the ads. Though the DMRC guidelines are against political ads, the agency has taken special permission from the Election Commission to put these ads until polls,” the DMRC spokesperson said.

Parveen Gupta of Eg. Communications said the agency took special permission to put up Modi ads inside the Metro stations and on trains.

“We argued that if ads were allowed everywhere else in Delhi, then why should the Metro alone be excluded,” he said.

According to Gupta, the agency also approached the Congress too for ads. “We asked the Congress if they wanted to advertise on Metro trains, but it refused,” he said.

According to the BJP sources, though the site and position of a hoarding dictate its price, the BJP is spending approximately Rs 2 crore every day on outdoor advertisements alone.

As far as the DMRC is concerned, the ads have been allowed for 21 days on a pro-rata basis. The total cost comes to around Rs 2.5 lakh per train for 21 days.

The expenditure on these ads is being borne by the party’s central office, a senior BJP leader said. Asked why so many ads were put up on Metro trains, he said Metro commuters formed a major chunk of the party’s vote bank.