KOLKATA: Among the four states and one union territory that are going to polls from March 27, West Bengal emerged as the topper in spending for political advertisements on Facebook this year, according to data available with the social media platform.
Besides West Bengal, assembly elections will be held in three other states Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and in the union territory of Puducherry.
The Facebook ad spend of the Trinamool Congress which seeks to return to power in West Bengal for the third consecutive term, exceeds that of the BJP, the main rival of the Mamata Banerjee-led party, in 90 days till March 22, the data revealed.
During the period, political parties of West Bengal spent about Rs 3.74 crore on poll-related campaigns which fall under Facebook's advertisement category of 'social issues, election or politics'.
In ad spend under this category, West Bengal is followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs 3.3 crore), Assam (Rs 61.77 lakh), Kerala (Rs 38.86 lakh) and Puducherry (Rs 3.34 lakh) during the period, as per the data.
The Trinamool Congress has spent the maximum amount among parties, around Rs 1.69 crore, of West Bengal during the period on campaigns such as "Banglar Gorbo Mamata" (Bengal's pride Mamata).
It also has constituency level versions such as "Dum Dum-er Garbo Mamata".
The TMC's digital advertisements are handled by the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) which runs other campaigns also for the party on the social media platform.
During the period under review, another Facebook page run by the name of "Khotikarok Modi" (Harmful Modi), has spent Rs 33.12 lakh in political ads, according to the data.
The state BJPs Facebook ad spend is around Rs 25.31 lakh.
It is advertising campaigns such as Amar Paribar BJP Paribar (My family is BJP family) and Aar Noi Annay (No more injustice).
The Facebook page of the TMC has 1.3 million followers while that of the West Bengal BJP has 1.7 million followers.
The state Congress spent around Rs 5 lakh in advertisements on Facebook while the amount spent by Left parties is negligible.
According to an analyst, the total spending on digital advertisements of political parties would be more as they do not always pay directly for campaigns.