Monday February 19, 2018
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Made mistakes in issuing tickets, but BJP will still win Bihar: Jayant Sinha

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Patna: Union Minister Jayant Sinha has admitted that the BJP made mistakes while picking candidates in the Bihar assembly elections but insisted his party will win the battle.

Jayant Sinha, son of former finance and external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, said in an interview that the BJP’s mistakes were nothing compared to the blunders by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“There is some resentment (in the BJP) due to mistakes in ticket distribution. But we have overcome it at most places,” Sinha, minister of state for finance, said ahead of the five-phase elections which begin on Monday.

“You have to take the entire state and other (factors) into account while distributing tickets.”

The MP from Jharkhand who is campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar went on: “But what about Nitish Kumar who has made a series of mistakes in last two-and-a-half-years?”

Listing these, he said the people of Bihar won’t forgive the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader who heads the Grand Alliance that also includes Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD and the Congress.

“Parting ways with the BJP was his first major mistake. It was a crime. Again he made a mistake by joining hands with Lalu Prasad, who is a symbol of ‘jungle raj’,” Sinha said.

“Removing Jitan Ram Manjhi from chief minister’s post was another mistake. And last but not the least, he joined hands with the Congress,” Sinha said.

Sinha also felt that the same party must rule in New Delhi and in states for better coordination vis-a-vis good governance.

“If the BJP forms a government in Bihar, it would succeed in ushering in the state’s development since the state government would function in tandem with the BJP-ruled central government,” he said.

He cited his home state Jharkhand to back his argument.

“Since the formation of a BJP-led government in Jharkhand, we have done lots of development work there with the support of the central government. See where is Jharkhand today in comparison to Bihar.”

Sinha also took a dig at the Congress, saying the grand old party didn’t have the interests of the nation at heart.

“For them dynasty is supreme. Rahul Gandhi is an example of it, he said.

He wondered if Congress had no other capable leader. “How long will they ignore the reality? People of this country understand everything,” Sinha added.

The Bihar elections will end on November 5. The results would be known three days later.

Sinha claimed that Delhi — where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal routed the BJP in February — won’t be repeated in Bihar.

“Delhi’s elections were special. There was no anti-incumbency against Arvind Kejriwal. And one thing he did very cleverly is he went to public and sought apology for his mistakes. But Nitish never did that. So the people of Bihar will not forgive him,” he said.

Calling former chief minister Lalu Prasad a convicted criminal, he said that it was unfortunate that Bihar had a leader like him.

“Laluji has been a symbol of jungle raj. He can never rise above family and caste issues. See his election speeches and his remarks. It’s tragic,” Sinha said.

 

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS)

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)