HYDERABAD: The Congress’ MP candidate in Chevella, Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, and the BJP national general secretary, P Muralidhar Rao, top the list of individual politicos from both the Telugu states, who have been spending the most on political advertisements on Facebook since February 2019.
As for political parties in the fray from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it is neither Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the Congress nor the BJP that have been shelling out the most. The YSRCP, whose election strategy is being managed by I-PAC, has spent the most on advertisements from February on the social media platform.
While Chevella MP Konda Vishweshwar Reddy disbursed Rs 2.69 lakh on 40 advertisements from February to March 23, BJP’s Muralidhar Rao spent Rs 1.98 lakh on just seven advertisements. Reddy’s ads, sponsored by a certain Mehmood, basically talk about the achievements he has enabled in his constituency, promotes his official Facebook page and discusses other miscellaneous activities. On each ad, he spent between Rs 1,000- Rs 5,000 and they were mainly targeted at men rather than women.
Muralidhar Rao’s advertisements speaks grandiose of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with snaps of the latter speaking with the former.
Like Vishweshwar’s ads, these too were targeted at men rather than women, and the audience were predominantly from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
However, Muralidhar Rao’s advertisements flouted Facebook’s ad policies, which stipulate that the sponsor’s name should be displayed on the ads to maintain transparency. All of them were taken down by the social media platform.
When it comes to political parties, YSRCP is much ahead of other regional parties in terms of advertising. With the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) — the think-tank that was primarily responsible for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in 2014 — as its electoral manager and backed by immense financial support, the YSRCP’s social media presence has boomed.
The YSRCP’s advertisements come from various sources and not just its official Facebook page. In fact, all of I-PAC’s ads from its official Facebook page from February have been on Jagan Mohan Reddy; they have spent Rs 32.8 lakh for 425 ads during the same time period. Another one of YSRCP’s pages, ‘Jagananna Ki Thoduga’ ran 77 advertisements at a cost of `5.40 lakh, and all of them were sponsored by I-PAC.