Congress leader Ajay Maken on Thursday criticised the Delhi government’s decision to hike its publicity budget from ₹24 crore to ₹526.19 crore, calling it an attempt to “purchase the media”. The AAP government defended the move.

“Delhi is not a rich state. Crores of rupees cannot be spent on publicity or for advertisements,” said Maken.

He also took to Twitter and posted: “No money has been spent on infrastructure development, but the government has decided to spend ₹520 crore on publicity. Is it to purchase the media?”

However, the Delhi government’s spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said: “This is the first time the Delhi government has created a head for information and publicity department. So, it is clear that the government has voluntarily allowed itself to be audited.”

“Earlier the money spent on advertisements was shown in other expenses,” he added.

Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia too dismissed the issue and said these are tactics to take the focus off the good work being done by the AAP government.

However, AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar, who has openly criticised the party leadership on several issues, today trained his guns on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the ad budget allocation.