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Election ad war heats up in Bihar; EC to curb paid news

12-September-2015
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Election ad war heats up in Bihar; EC to curb paid news

On Wednesday (September 09, 2015), the Election Commission announced the date for assembly polls in Bihar. The Chief Election Commissioner, Nasim Zaidi announced that the elections will be held in five phases, starting from October 12. Counting will take place on November 08, 2015.

Given the scenario of Bihar elections, the Central government and State government are going head to head through advertisements. Both governments are trying to catch voter’s attention with ads on regional channels and newspapers especially among ETV Bihar, Mahuaa, Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and Prabhat Khabar which are the leading channels and newspapers in Bihar.

All the leading newspapers have started carrying front page and centre spread ads of political parties promoting themselves through their work. While the Central government highlighted their ‘Special Bihar Package’ in an ad, the State government released ads which claim there was nothing special about the ‘Special Package’.

With the election dates announced, code of conduct will soon kick in. Keeping this in mind, political parties are amping up their promotions. Given the media sentiments with this election, the ad budget has been predicted to go above Rs 50 crore.

Since the Election Commission is very firm about promotional expenditures, they are planning a strategy to monitor misuse of money by parties, including paid news. It can be recalled that in the General Elections of Bihar in 2010 there were 15 confirmed cases of paid news detected.

This year the EC plans to have nine central agencies to keep a check on the movement of cash and liquor.

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