Hyderabad: Though the Telugu Desam lost the general election in Andhra Pradesh earlier this year, it ended up spending more money than the winning YSR Congress. The Telugu Desam’s officially declared expenditure was Rs 131 crore, while the YSRC’s was Rs 86 crore.
A major part of the TD’s expenses went towards social media (SM) — sending bulk SMSes, creating a website, Youtube — and media advertising as well as party propaganda. The YSRC spent slightly less on social media — Rs 35 crore.
The two parties are among the few recognised state parties that have submitted their election expenditure report to the Election Commission of India as required. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi has not done so as of September 23.
The major election expense for any party is travel expenses of star campaigners and senior party leaders, media advertisements, publicity material and public rallies.
The requirement of the Election Commission of India to publish criminal antecedents of candidates in newspapers this time burnt a hole in party pockets. This activity cost the TD `45 lakh and the YSRC, `50 lakh.
For the TD, the major expense of `49 crore was spent on media advertisements (print and electronic, bulk SMSes, cable, website, Youtube channel). It spent `11 crore on publicity material. The YSRC's spending followed a similar pattern. Compared to the previous parliamentary election, the digital spend of both parties has doubled.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, election expenditure for online platforms was around `400-500 crore, which increased multi-fold in 2019.
Google’s Political Advertising Transparency Report revealed that the total spend on its various digital segments had surpassed `86,311,600 even before India went to the polls this year....