Hindustan Times reports that the BJP advertising budget for this election could touch 5000 crores.
“Planned spends on all media, including print, television, outdoor, internet and radio would be close to Rs. 4,500 crore. The party has set aside an additional Rs. 500 crore, which will be used, based on need, to beef up the campaign in critical constituencies and states in the last few days of campaigning.”
After his Record of 53 rallies using 3D projection technology beamed real time using satellites during his Assembly election campaign; the Lok Sabha Elections are set to see Modi break his own record with 1000 such 3D projection rallies planned in 10-12 batches with each event happening in 100 locations at a time. Depending on which source you read cost between 5 crore per event to ten million dollars (little over 60 crores) for all the rallies (coming to a little more than 1.13 crore per rally). That would be a mind boggling 5000 crore on just one category of election campaigning by a party that declared TOTAL INCOME between 2004-05 and 2011-12 accounts as 890.65 crore rupees and assets worth 1221.57 crore rupees. While there is no way of knowing how much donations they are getting now, I’m going by the assumption that two general elections falling into that time period, the total income of 7 years wouldn’t exceed the income in this one year.
Assuming lower cost to be true, it would be 1.13 crore per event bringing it to a whopping 1132 crore still.
This is apart from the 185 rallies Modi is to address in person, traveling by air each time. Independent estimates peg the cost of each Modi rally at 50 to 55 crores per event including event arrangements, travel by air, hoardings and other advertisements, live broadcast feed, paid audiences and more. We can dismiss them as motivated and consider a tenth of that cost (5 crore) to be true, and the rest politically motivated considering that estimating the extent of paid audiences is impossible. I regret that we have to use such wild estimations, but since BJP is a staunch opponent of RTI providing accurate information about their party expenses, this is the best I can do for now. I have tried to be fair. Even a low budget wedding decorator would charge 150 rupees per head or more per guest for the event arrangements (not counting food and such). That would put the cost of 185 rallies alone at 925 crore (35 crore more than the total declared income for 7 years between 2004-05 and 2011-12). That is leaving out rallies such as the Hunkar where even conservative estimates peg it to cost over 10 crore.
This is in addition to prime time television advertisements, full page ads in newspapers and such, which someone tracking (but not yet ready with his report) estimates to be in the hundreds of crores already.
This is in addition to the ads staring into your face all over the internet.
This is in addition to the hired PR firms for social media trolling and more.
This is apart from the regular running expenses of hundreds of offices, lakhs of supporters campaiging on the ground and on the internet and phones.
It is apart from the printing and distribution expenses for both party propaganda and slander of opponents.
This is apart from the reports of payment for votes, payment for attending rallies, payment for buying off party supporters/members/candidates, media, etc – stuff not easy to prove or estimate, but estabished that it happens.
This is in addition to the expenses of other leaders who are also not exactly pinching their wallet. There are hundreds of candidates with their own expenses likely spending funds from state units or other sources. For example Gopinath Munde’s supporters recently thrashed their helicopter pilot in Beed when he wouldn’t take him to an additional location than what he had been booked for, citing Election Commission restrictions.
And there are a thousand other things, but I think it is quite clear that BJP’s visible expense dramatically exceeds their stated income. I can easily outline estimates for other expenses if anyone has any evidence that BJP legally has more money than I am assuming here.
So where is this money coming from? Clearly part of it is coming in kind, like the free air travel and the now done to death names of the evil Ambani and Adani.
That still doesn’t explain the rest of the bonanza. The advertising, rallies and the 3D rallies both independently blow the declared income estimate out of the water.
Some of the expense is clearly looted from the people of Gujarat when state funds are used to employ PR firms for showcasing Gujarat before the upcoming General Elections. Why would a state government need a PR firm for the General Elections? It wouldn’t. The argument would be the state is showcasing itself, and Modi will just “happen to” peddle the well publicized Gujarat model till everyone wants to puke – and it isn’t just skeptics like me, but even a staunch bhakt like Raj Thackeray lashed at Modi when he flaunted Gujarat in Maharashtra asking him to resign as Chief Minister of one state if he was planning to be the Prime Minister.
The chosen agency will have to ensure at least half a dozen stories each in national, regional and vernacular newspapers based on the inputs provided by Gujarat government, officials said. Gujarat government is also seeking at least one story each in national magazines and television based on its inputs every month.
The amount for retaining Mutual PR is not known. Last week, four agencies including Dilip Cherian’s Perfect Relations, Acti Media, Kamnath Mudralaya and Mutual PR attended half an hour long pre-bid conference called by the government of Gujarat in Delhi.
More firms are expected to submit bids as the Gujarat government reduced a threshold to 1 crore each in turnover for past three years from 1.5 crore in 2011 for bidders while most tenders seek much higher revenues.
Many of the state ventures of Gujarat have also hired separate public relations firms. For instance, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City has roped in Adfactors PR; Metro Express Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad project has signed Perfect Relations and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation has tied up with Simulations.
And this publicity wasn’t even listed in the ones already unable to fit BJP’s stated income.
Paisa kidhar se aa raha hain, bhai?
Note: There is a big bait in this article. If BJP takes it, there will be a follow up article. Stay tuned.