This Halloween (October 31), Barack Obama masks outsold John McCain masks two to one in the US. Four days later, Obama won.
So, are mask sales a reliable meter of a leader’s popularity? The Congress party would certainly hope so.
Wiser by the experience in Gujarat, where rival chief minister Narendra Modi’s masks were all the rage last year, Congress workers in Delhi are placing bulk orders for Sonia Gandhi’s masks this year.
This is the first time that the Congress leader’s masks are being used, and the initiative for introducing them was entirely taken by the poll-savvy traders of Sadar Bazaar.
“When we saw how popular the Modi masks proved to be in Gujarat, we introduced them (Sonia masks) here. We have been receiving huge orders,” said Abdul Gaffar, proprietor of Bharat Handlooms, a factory manufacturing canvassing material in Sadar Bazaar.
While sales of the Sonia masks have been brisk, other publicity materials are also much in demand. Bangles, necklaces, earrings, caps, t-shirts, flags, posters, stickers, cassettes, badges, balloons, key chains, scarves... every knickknack is turned into campaign material these days.
“It’s important to have a range of products. After all, the candidate with the maximum visibility wins,” said Riyaz Ahmed of Bharat Handlooms.
Generations of the Ahmeds have thrived on election campaign material. “A candidate has already spent Rs 5 crore on his campaign. We get orders worth approximately Rs 2 lakh everyday,” Ahmed claimed.