Millennium Post

Election Bazaar

Other than the political workers with an ambition of getting a ticket to enter into political arena, there are others too who eagerly wait for the festival of democracy. The manufacturers of goods used in political campaigning always eagerly look forward to the dance of democracy.

Delhi is the centre of all kind of election material suppliers. All types of electioneering tools of all political parties, including regional parties, are manufactured and supplied from Delhi across the country. Flags of political affiliations of other countries are also manufactured and supplied from Delhi’s Sadar Bazar.

Sadar Bazar is the only market in Delhi that caters to the demand from the all over the country. The main suppliers of election goods are Anil Bhai and Ashok Bhai Rakhi Wale, Sardar Lucky Singh and Mohd Yusuf Duhma Bhai. There are some other retailers too who are engaged in selling of utensils of political rallies.

Anil Bhai and Ashok Bhai Rakhi Wale, both siblings, are known as main suppliers of election stuff from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Both brothers, belonging to Bania community, have turned the business of goods of political campaign into a lucrative one over some years of hard work and extending political connections. They have dealers in every state to whom they supply election campaign materials like banners, stickers, wrist bands, patkas, paper masks, pens, plastic flowers, hand bags, purse, caps, ribbon, pamphlets, posters, metal badges, etc. Better to say this is the one-stop shop of all products required for spreading political awareness among masses.

‘Large and small cut-outs of almost all politicians belonging to different political parties across the country are available round the corner. The cut-outs of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, UPA’s chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Bihar chief minister Nitish and Lalu Prasad Yadav are among the best sellers during the poll season, said Anil Bhai, while pointing towards the huge stock of election materials in the shop.

For both the siblings, now it has become a family affair. Apart from both the brothers, their family members too take care of the shop. Saurabh Gupta, Anil bhai’s son, puts his efforts in running the shop to understand the nitty-gritty of the business, facing the threat of Election Commission’s day-to-day changing rules.

Other major supplier in Sadar Bazaar is Sardar Lucky Singh, who is exploring the business with the name VV Traders. Lucky Singh’s supply chain has also been expanded to a great extent.

No doubt the business is lucrative in nature, but it faces direct threat from the changing norms of EC, which is trying its best to curb the money power during elections. The ban on posters and banners in elections has affected this business to some extent. But ban on tools of campaigning has hit this industry too much. Adding to their woes, the inflation has played spoilsport during the peak of the election season, when the electioneering of assembly elections in the five states - Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram - is at its peak. It’s the impact of stringent EC rules that sale of flags, patkas, banners, etc has come down in recent election season, says Saurabh Gupta. Inspite of these factors, the demand of election materials has increased from other states, where the EC’s model code of conduct is not in effect.

During the poll season, the demand of flags of every size starting from smaller size (13 inch x 21 inch) to larger size (30 inch x 45 inch) rises. The cost of one flag ranges between Rs 5 and Rs 350. Some special flags even cost up to Rs 1,000.

‘I sell the election materials of all political parties, but have no affinity with any one. Workers of every political party come to this shop, but I keep myself very neutral. Sometimes the rival candidates themselves come to place orders and they show antagonism against each other,’ said Saurabh.

There are some small dealers or sub-dealers in the business, who purchase election materials from Anil and Ashok Bhai, said S Luthra. The manufacturers of flags and other materials include Mohd Yusuf Duhma Bhai.

Noticing the potential of the business, the cloth mills are also felicitating these suppliers by manufacturing clothes in the pattern of political parties. As like shirting pieces, the cloth mills are making complete bundles of the same colour and print of the party’s symbol on it as per the size of the flag. A supplier has to just cut the pieces and distribute them to their affiliates.
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