Political parties have spent over Rs 53 crore on digital platforms like Google and Facebook between February and May this year, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accounting for a lion's share of the spending.
According to Facebook's Ad Library Report, there were 1.21 lakh political ads with a total spending of more than Rs 26.5 crore between February and May 15 this year.
Similarly, ad spend on Google, YouTube, and partner properties since February 19 stood at Rs 27.36 crore with 14,837 ads.
Ruling party BJP spent Rs 4.23 crore on over 2,500 ads on Facebook. Supporting pages like 'My First Vote for Modi', 'Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat' and 'Nation with NaMo' too, infused over Rs 4 crore on ads on the social networking platform that has well over 200 million users in India. On Google's platforms, it has spent more than Rs 17 crore.
The Indian National Congress (INC) spent Rs 1.46 crore on Facebook for 3,686 ads. It shelled out another Rs 2.71 crore on Google's platforms with 425 ads.
As per Facebook's data, All India Trinamool Congress has spent Rs 29.28 lakh.
Aam Aadmi Party shelled out Rs 13.62 lakh for 176 ads on the Facebook page. Interestingly, Google's political ad dashboard showed that Auburn Digital Solutions was running AAP campaigns and had spent Rs 2.18 crore from February 19 onwards.
Earlier this year, digital platforms like Google and Facebook had said they will offer details of political advertisements on their platform to bring transparency ahead of elections in the country. They have also announced a slew of measures over the past few months to strengthen efforts around election integrity.
The general elections in the country entered the final lap for 59 seats in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chandigarh on Sunday.
Counting of votes for the world's largest democracy will take place on May 23.