In the month of April, as COVID-19 ravaged the country causing thousands of deaths, the top political parties in poll bound states, spent more than ₹ 4.2 crore on promoting posts through their official Facebook pages.
As electoral campaigns were underway in poll bound states, the country saw a deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections sweep across, catching nearly every state off-guard and pushing India's healthcare system beyond its capacity. Between March 30, and April 30, India saw over 67 lakh fresh COVID-19 infections and 46,000 deaths, with official numbers rumoured to be only scratching the surface of the real figures.
BOOM accessed Facebook's ad library report for the same time period, and found the official page for Bharatiya Janata Party's West Bengal unit to be the highest spending page during this time, with an overall expenditure of ₹ 1.58 crore.
Following closely was Trinamool Congress' official page for polls, Banglar Gorbo Mamata, with an expenditure of ₹ 1.48 crore during the same time period.
In the third place was an unverified page dedicated to Tamil Nadu's ruling party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam named "நெஞ்சம் உண்டு, நேர்மை உண்டு", which spent an amount of ₹ 30 lakh in the past month.
Then came a slanderous page called "Khotikarok Modi", that targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party in a mix of English and Bangla posts. There were no specific party affiliations to this page, and the disclaimer details did not provide accurate information.
Then came a list of other pages from poll bound states, such as UDF Kerala coalition and the ruling LDF Kerala coalition, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and some BJP other pages.
The high amounts spent by TMC and BJP's Bengal unit also reflects the perception that West Bengal is seeing one of the most competitive legislative elections in the country this year.
A month before the polling started in West Bengal, we had found TMC to have far outspent BJP in campaigning on Facebook through its official pages. However, during the polling months BJP overtook Bengal's ruling party in Facebook ad spending.
Between March 30 and April 30, BJP-linked pages reigned in as the top spender with nearly ₹ 1.95 crore being spent by such pages on Facebook political ads.
TMC came second with an expenditure of ₹ 1.48 crore in the same time period, while AIADMK followed far behind with a spending of ₹ 30 lakh.
Then came Tamil Nadu's DMK and Kerala's two alliances UDF and LDF, with respective expenditures of ₹16 lakh, ₹ 10 lakh, and ₹ 7.5 lakh.
Updated On: 2021-05-03T19:18:31+05:30