Can’t use advertising as political bribery or inducement: Arun Jaitley

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 21, 2016 00:43 IST
Union minister Arun Jaitley during an interview with Hindustan Times at his office in North Block, New Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

Union information and broadcasting minister, Arun Jaitley on Friday flagged the practice of “excessive and selective” advertising by political parties and governments, pointing out that it needs to be examined how it can amount to “political bribery”.

Without naming names, the minister who also holds the portfolio of finance, took potshots at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi for introducing what he dubbed as “selective and excessive” advertising.

“If today any state gets the right to disburse excessive and selective advertising, a trend which is being witnessed for the first time, under which friends are rewarded and opponents punished…when does such advertising become political bribery or political incentive?” he questioned.

The AAP government in Delhi has come under sharp attack from the BJP for its large spending on advertisements.

Underling the need for a debate on the issue, which he warned could be replicated by other states as well, Jaitley said: “Those who are critical of the ideology, which I support, their stunning silence (on the issue) is most eloquent.”

Jaitley was speaking at an award ceremony, the ‘Narada Samman’ for journalists, organised by the Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra, an affiliate of the RSS.

On the issue of free speech and media freedom, he said censorship could not be imposed anymore.

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