The Congress Party may be closing in on the BJP if exit polls are any indication, but the 119-year-old party is way ahead of the latter when it comes to print advertisement campaigns.
According to AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research, which has been tracking election-related advertising, the Congress accounts for more than half of the advertising volumes between March 1 and April 7.
The BJP is a distant second at 14 per cent, with AIADMK third with a share of more than 10 per cent. In fact, before the BJP beefed up its campaign in the first week of April, the AIADMK was second to the Congress.
Apart from the AIADMK, South Indian parties such as the Telugu Desam, Kannada Nadu Party and DMK also find place in the top-ten list.
During the first three weeks of March, Tamil Nadu topped the states in terms of advertising volumes, with Andhra Pradesh coming in second. Both, together, gobbled up nearly 40 per cent of the election-related print advertising volumes during that period.
With elections approaching, the first week of April has seen a 3.6 times increase in advertising volumes over the same period in March.
AdEx, for the purpose of compiling data, has taken note of only such advertisements that have at least a line about the elections or votes.
The organisation's newsletter has also noted that the share of `self-praise' ads has risen as the campaign has prolonged.
During the first week of March, 90 per cent of Congress' advertising was anti-BJP, according to AdEx. This figure, calculated up to April 7, has fallen by half. The share of self-praise ads of the Congress works up to 45 per cent, with BJP too having a similar share. But, for BJP the focus has shifted from Mr L.K. Advani's `Bharat Uday Yatra,' which it had highlighted in its ads during most of March.