Party-themed 'sandesh' sweet-talk voters in Bengal
Kolkata: 'Sandesh' has been dressed up. It is on a catwalk either as the Trinamool's 'jora ghash phul' (twin-flower), BJP's Lotus, Congress' Hand symbol, or the hammer and sickle of CPI (M).
These "Election sweets" are just flying off the shelves at Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick -- one of the oldest confectioners in the city or Shibani Sweets at Sodepur (the northern suburb).
With the humble 'nakuldana' (flour-sugar balls) and 'Laddoo' taking centre stage in rural West Bengal's Lok Sabha elections, the confectioners in the city are not leaving any opportunity to bank on the frenzied ambience.
'Sandesh' (the cottage cheese sweet) is readily coming up in any form you wish. They have been flying off the shelves since the election drums were rolled.
"We have been making these sweets during elections for many years. This year also the response is very good," Poppy Mullick of Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick told IANS.
Asked which of the party-themed sweets was selling the most, she jokingly said "no comments" mentioning that all the items were being sold.
Regarding the bulk orders placed by workers, Mullick gave a hint that 'the state's ruling party' Trinamool Congress tops the chart.
They have priced a sweet of 250 grams at Rs 150.
The Sodepur sweet shop that specialises in theme sweets during football and Cricket World Cup events, is offering decorative tray filled with huge sweets replicated as party symbols.
Trinamool's 'jora ghash phul' (twin-flower), BJP's Lotus, Hand symbol of Congress, hammer and sickle of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have been given a sweet twist. They are carefully placed on the tray and the empty space is also filled with the Kheer Sandesh making it almost appear as a huge cake.
"We are offering these big trays whose price range from Rs 800-2,000 and a small Sandesh is Rs 70," Sanjib Das, store's staff said.
Das is elated as this year they are getting a "huge response". He mentioned that customers are so impressed that they are asking for larger sizes.
The 'Trinamool' Sandesh are in great demand followed by BJP's. Sweets of other parties like Congress and CPI (M) are being sold but lesser than the others," Das said.
Orders can also be customised as per the customers' demand. They also ensure that the customers get the freshest of quality, so after placing the order with alterations one shall have to wait for a little time.
Almost fourteen to fifteen men are toiling hard to churn out these sweet delicacies laced with aesthetic appeal.
"This is just the beginning, I am sure that as the election heat picks up, the demands will keep soaring. We will try our best to deliver," Das said.
While Mullicks will stick to sweets with party symbols, Shibani Sweets will try to come up with sweets replicating leader's face if any customer demands.
Amidst the high voltage campaigns, these sweets will add a dash of goodness and will be savoured by the supporters and the members of the winning party and candidates, the shop said.
Already in the state, Trinamool Congress' Birbhum district President Anubrata Mondal's directive to party workers to hand over nakuldana and water to people to keep them cool in the oppressive summer months and the BJP's decision to distribute laddoo among the people as a counter move has added to the sweetness of the electoral contest.
The seven-phased election in the state will commence on April 11 and the last date of the poll is May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.