Smriti Kak Ramachandran
NEW DELHI: The Bahujan Samaj Party, which is aspiring to open its account in the Delhi Assembly, is giving the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party a stiff competition. The party’s election paraphernalia ranging from commonplace pens and caps to novel sugar-coated fennel seeds are fast disappearing off the shelves. In Sadar Bazar, the city’s major wholesale market, shops selling election trappings are hard to miss and shopkeepers are trying hard to keep pace with the “bulk orders” for “Behenji’s (Mayawati) photographs and election symbol”. “It is for the first time that we have been supplied campaigning material for the BSP in such large quantities. In the past elections, bulk of the orders came from the Congress and the BJP, but this year banners and posters in bright blue with the elephant symbol and the pictures of Mayawati and Kansi Ram prominently displayed are in great demand,” says the proprietor of Muskaan Enterprises.
Although sales at these shops that dot the by-lanes of the busy market are yet to pick up, excitement and frenzy are in abundance.
“Sales will pick up only when the lists are final and the party’s contestants are confirmed. As of now we are busy arranging for materials to be supplied to shops and party offices across the city and even in other States,” says Ram Bhai Rakhiwale.
In his shop, Bhikshu Bodhmad, who has come all the way from Hardoi in the neighbouring U.P. sits poring over posters of B.R. Ambedkar, Mayawati and her mentor Kanshi Ram.
“None of the parties -- the Congress or the BJP -- have done anything for the Buddhists in the past 50 years. The BSP has done something for us, so we will support the party,” he says. To woo the voters, there are pens, caps, calendars, masks of prominent leaders, badges with the BSP symbol, banners and posters for rallies and meetings and air balloons for reaching out to the elusive voter. “There is something for everyone. Starting from a plastic badge that can cost as little as 50 paise to air balloons that can go up to Rs.6,000 apiece, we have a variety of eye-catching stuff,” said Dyal Bhai Jhandewalan.