New Delhi: As Delhi Assembly elections loom on the horizon, the Delhi Metro has turned into an electoral battlefield with BJP and AAP putting up about 3,000 advertising panels in the coaches of almost 40 trains.
While the AAP advertisements focus solely on its convener Arvind Kejriwal, visuals of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dominate the BJP ads. Congress has not put up any advertisement so far.
"While the AAP has put up 1,000 panels, the BJP is slightly ahead with 1,850 panels. The parties have been alloted 20 trains each on the busiest sections namely Line 2 (HUDA City Centre-Jahangirpuri) and Line 3/4 (Dwarka Sector 21 Noida City Centre/Vaishali)," said Praveen Gupta of Eg Communications, one of the agencies to which the DMRC has outsourced its advertisement spaces.
Political advertisements in the Delhi Metro, which has an estimated daily ridership of almost 27 lakh, made its debut before the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, when the BJP had put up around 3,400 advertisements.
While admitting that DMRC was against putting up political advertisements previously, Gupta said that under new contracts such advertisements are allowed.
"Our old contracts with DMRC had clauses against political ads but the new contracts allow such ads. We are not doing something that goes against DMRC guidelines," he said.
Gupta added that in order to maintain "equity" the agency has decided not to allocate more than 15 per cent of the total space available to any particular political party. He said that before the Lok Sabha polls, when the new contracts had not been signed, the agency had taken special permission from the Election Commission to put up the ads.
"Although we do not directly allocate ads, we do monitor them. We intervene only when something objectionable or obscene is put up," a DMRC spokesperson said.