The Centre’s cash clean-up drive has severely impacted the sale of campaign materials in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, upsetting electioneering plans of all the political parties.
Banners, posters, stickers, flags, masks of leaders, caps, t-shirts and other paraphernalia associated with the campaigning are generally in great demand during elections. But this time, the shops dealing with such materials are almost deserted.
Eight campaign material shops in Lucknow’s Vikramaditya Marg near the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP)’s state headquarters witnessed a massive decline in footfall after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes on November 8.
“Demonetisation has ruined our business,” rued Ravindra Agarwal, a shop owner. So much so that another shop owner, who did not wish to be named, is even contemplating to quit the business.
All these eight shops exclusively cater to the demands of the SP.
The mood is no different even in the shops that deal with publicity materials of other political parties in the state.
The adversity has now forced political parties to change their campaign strategies. After the demonetisation, the BJP is relying more on the ‘door-to-door campaign’ and ‘word of mouth,’ besides social media campaigning.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is banking on its tried and tested materials such as CDs consisting of party chief Mayawati’s speeches and a booklet highlighting the ideals and policies of the party.
Mayawati summoned all the candidates to her residence at 13 Mall Avenue on November 10 and handed over the CDs and booklets with an instruction to distribute the booklets among the people in their respective constituencies and play the CDs in public meetings.
The Congress is using the social media and public meetings to reach out to the people.
The party’s social media cell is aggressively pushing the party’s ‘27 saal UP behaal’ campaign on the Facebook and Twitter.
But amid the slump, one material that survived the demonetisation blues is the Modi mask. The mask is sold for `6 per piece. Over 2,000 masks were ordered for the Prime Minister’s fog-hit Bahraich rally on December 11.