The surcharged political atmosphere in West Bengal is getting a sweet edge in a hotly contested election. Sweet makers here are cashing in on the election frenzy by creating sweet delicacies named after party symbols and leaders.
The Congress' hand, or the Trinamool Congress' 'Jora Ghas Phul' ("twin flowers in grass") or the BJP's lotus, the quintessential Bengali sandesh, now comes in all party hues.
Called the 'Nirbachoni Mishti' or the poll sweets, they are a rage with party workers and the common man alike.
Besides the party symbol sweets, Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick - one of the oldest confectioners in the city - will be launching "NaMo" "RaGa" and "Didi" brand of sandesh named after the top leaders of the BJP, Congress and the Trinamool.
Sandesh is Bengal's famed sweetmeat made of cottage cheese.
"The NaMo, RaGa and Didi sweets will be available once the voting starts here. Named after Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee, the sweets will have the leaders' faces along with their names," Sudip Mullick of the store told IANS.
The nolen gur - flavoured sandesh - made from liquid date palm - will be priced at Rs.20 each and launched April 17, day one of the five phased polls in the state.
The shop is also selling the "Joi Ho" (be victorious), a sandesh with the twin words wishing success to the candidates in the fray.
"Much like Christmas or Durga Puja, polls here are a festival. So we came up with the Nirbachoni Mishti which have been a hit especially with party rallies happening every now and then," said Mallick, adding that the Jora Ghas Phul Mishti was the best seller.
Priced at Rs.150 each, the 250 grams party symbol sandesh are a big rage and have been flying off the shelf.
One of the first to come up with the party symbol sweets, the Sri Krishna Mistanna Bhandar at Barasat in North 24 Parganas plans to create the 'Pradhan Mantri Sandesh' a giant sweet bearing the figure of the next person at the helm of the country.
"In the Assembly polls (2011) we had created the 'Mukhya Mantri Sandesh' (chief minister Sandesh) and gifted to Mamata Banerjee when she became the chief minister. This year we are planning to create a Pradhan Mantri sandesh if we get the PM from our state," said Kamal Saha, the owner.
Saha said the Trinamool symbol sandesh was most in demand while the one least in demand was the Congress' hand.