Feeding the campaign appetite for bits and pieces

Manufacturers of election merchandise are busy meeting orders

Updated - May 19, 2016 09:38 am IST

Published - March 19, 2014 12:35 am IST - BANGALORE:

With the election fever catching on, makers of T-shirts, caps, badges, masks and other such merchandise are expecting a windfall. If candidates awaiting nomination are in discussions with these companies for customised orders, parties have begun placing orders and taking delivery.

Thinstrokes, a brand merchandising firm in Bangalore, has supplied 50,000 teacups to Citizens for Accountable Governance, which is organising the “Chai Pe Charcha” meetings with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. The cups are being given away to roadside tea stalls.

Chidananda, who runs a small-scale art silk unit in the Bommasandara industrial area on the outskirts of Bangalore, completed delivery of 25,000 caps and an equal number of T-shirts with BJP colours about three weeks ago — at Rs. 100 a T-shirt and Rs. 5 a cap.

A source, who did not wish to be named, says the Aam Aadmi Party has placed orders with vendors in Bangalore for supply of at least 10,000 of its trademark caps in every constituency it has fielded a candidate.

A manufacturer says there was good reason for political parties to place the orders and take delivery before the announcement of the elections — they could not only exclude these from election expenditure but also steal a march on their rivals.

Many entrepreneurs expect orders for refrigerator magnets, door and car stickers, calendars and so on to increase after March 19 when candidates begin filing their nomination papers. “Nowadays, parties are asking the candidates themselves to arrange for campaign material. So, I may get orders only after the names of candidates are announced,” Shekar, who runs a unit in the Binny Mills area in Bangalore, says.

Parties have set aside a huge amount of merchandise this time. Thinstrokes, formed by a group of engineers and designers from the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, has been contacted for T-shirts, jackets, badges and teacups, its co-founder Nikhil Pande says.

Boutiques displaying T-shirts and stickers promoting political candidates have come up in Bangalore. Vasanth, who runs Namasthe store at Malleswaram in the city, says he is selling merchandise that promotes Mr. Modi.

Capitalising on the election fever, “i am aam,” a new online store, is giving politically inclined people an opportunity to express their opinion and aspirations through the medium of T-shirts. “Not only do you flaunt your opinion on T-shirts but you also get to take a political stand,” Neha Shah, its director (marketing), says. Its website asks people to select the party that best represents their aspirations, and the site donates the profits from each purchase to that party, she says. The initiative will help involve disenfranchised youth in the political process, she adds.

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