New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) With the Election Commission strictly forbidding plastering public and private property with posters and graffiti, sellers of campaign material for the April 15 civic poll have switched to selling badges, stickers, hair bands, caps and flags instead.
Traders of campaign material in old Delhi's Sadar Bazaar area are feeling the pinch of the poll panel's curbs this time as there are no big orders for posters and flags. But they are hoping that business will see an upswing.
The main road of Sadar Bazar market is the capital's hub for all sorts of campaigning material with shops selling anything from party flags to pin-on badges for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections.
"So far, the business is not as good as it used to be," Ashok Bhai, proprietor of Ashok Bhai Rakhi Wala, one of some 50 shops in the area, told IANS.
"The independent candidates are driving the business this time. But in the absence of major parties placing big orders, the sales will not pick up much," he added.
"This time, if someone has taken permission for four flags in a campaign march, he can't make it five. The norms have become very strict," added Yusuf Khan, another trader.
"We have so much of the old stock lying around we can't even think about adding any new items," Khan claimed.
Earlier, the traders used to do roaring business during election time with flags and banners of all sizes making the bulk of sales, but this time the poll panel has forbidden defacing walls and trees with political posters.
According to Rakesh Mehta, Delhi's state election commissioner, if candidates are found defacing public or private property "by putting up posters or writing with ink or any other material, it won't be tolerated".
However, the shopkeepers have come up with innovative campaign material.
"While the sales of flags and banners has gone down, we have a lot of new products. We have badges, brooches, stickers, hairbands, caps, pin-up flags, badges with lights and turbans in the colours of various parties," Mohammed Fazil, owner of 35-year-old Avon Packaging, told IANS.
"Campaigning material is also available for the independent candidates with their own election symbols," he added.
"We even have clothing items of different parties. You can buy saris, bangles or even bindis in party colours," claimed Mukesh Jaiswal, the designer at Avon.
"Forget clothing, you can even buy a dog collar in various party colours," Mohammed Parwez, a shop salesman claimed.
"Despite the ban, the sales will pick up this week," he added confidently.
Manoj Bhai, a Gujarati fabrics supplier, agreed.
"Sales have not been satisfactory so far, but I believe the business should pick up as April 13 grows closer," he said.
April 13 is the last date for campaigning for MCD polls.
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