For the first time, the Delhi Metro has become an advertising ground for the political parties with BJP racing ahead of its rivals, including Congress, by putting 3,400 posters inside the train coaches so far.
While BJP has already put up the posters carrying its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress is yet to step in this new advertising battlefield. According to Delhi metro, about 2.25 lakh people commute by its trains every day.
"Metro is a place to get the best exposure. People of all age groups and classes travel in metro and spend 20-45 minutes at an average. They can pay attention to what these advertisements read. They are better than placing huge hoardings on road sides," Sanjay Kaul, a member of Executive Committee and spokesperson for Delhi BJP, said.
He said the party has decided to give Metro commuters a taste of its campaigning and no matter where commuters might look, they cannot miss the 3,400 posters of the party's prime ministerial candidate.
Eg Communications, the agency to which the DMRC - Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, has outsourced its advertisement space, says that the company had approached all the major parties for advertisements.
"We had approached all the major political parties in the capital, BJP was the first one to take this opportunity. There is no bias in the process. Congress posters are yet to come.
But they have said they will get back to us in a day or two," Manish Sethi, Director of the company said.
"Till today, more than 3,400 BJP posters have been put up in 30 metro trains on lines 2 to 6. Metro Line 2 has 10 trains, Line 3 and 4 have 5 trains each, while Line 5 has four and Line 6 has six trains," Sethi said.
He says they argued that if ads were allowed everywhere else in Delhi, then why should the Metro alone be excluded.
The total cost comes to around Rs 2 lakh per train till April 10 on a pro-rata basis, Sethi said.
Kaul says, "All of our ads have Modi. The ads are in interest of the party and do not benefit any individual leader. Therefore, the advertisements are being funded by the BJP's central command."
This is the first time that political advertisements have been allowed on Metro trains but the commuters feel that the ads are better replacement for the FMCG product ads.
"This is the election season and people are used to the political ads being put up by the parties all over. Metro commutes lakhs of people daily and the ads are at least better than the ads of shampoos and soft drinks," said a young commuter.