Ghaziabad: Delay in naming candidates, SP symbol feud hits campaign material sales
Many traders and small businessmen who deal in party flags, banners and other campaign material are keenly following the ongoing power play within the Samajwadi family and are hoping for an amicable end to the feud that threatens to split the party down the middle.noida Updated: Jan 16, 2017 11:26 IST
Vinod Kumar, a city trader dealing in publicity material for elections at Chanderpuri, is still trying to dispose of his nearly ₹15-16 lakh stock of flags. He had printed them for probable candidates of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), but the order now stands cancelled.
“The probables had placed orders for 20,000 big and small flags, but cancelled them recently as the party is heading for a split. Nearly 75% of the orders placed earlier were cancelled. The other probables, too, placed orders for campaign material, but are awaiting confirmation of alliances if any. The ongoing political scenario has hit our business,” Kumar said.
Many traders and small businessmen who deal in party flags, banners and other campaign material are keenly following the ongoing power play within the Samajwadi family and are hoping for an amicable end to the feud that threatens to split the party down the middle. Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav are locked in a tussle for the party’s symbol — bicycle. The issue is pending before the Election Commission. Amid the power tussle, there’s feverish speculation of a pre-poll alliance between the Akhilesh faction and the Congress.
“The fast-changing political developments and delay in naming the candidates have affected our business. This is unlike previous years when the parties named their candidates well in advance and it helped us post robust sales and sent our business soaring. This time, even some of the declared candidates are holding out on placing orders. They could well be trying to switch sides at the last moment,” Kumar said.
It isn’t just the fire raging in the SP headquarters that has hit these traders hard. Most other parties in the fray, including the BJP, have yet to name their candidates and this has added to their woes.
Of all the parties in fray for the UP Assembly polls, only the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has put out a full list of its candidates. The BJP leadership, is likely to name its candidates after Makar Sankranti, sources said.
The dip in sale of publicity material this time is also being attributed to strict guidelines laid down by the Election Commission. The poll expenditure limit for every candidate has been set at ₹28 lakh. The district administration of Ghaziabad has also fixed the price of items which are to be used by candidates while campaigning.
The sales of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) cutouts of political leaders, flexi board and banners have also been dull at best. While the traders are ready with giant-sized cutouts of leading canmpaign faces across the political spectrum — PM Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, SP heavyweights Mulayam and Akhilesh and BSP chief Mayawati — the delay in the naming of candidates have hurt business.
“Lots of calls are coming in from Punjab, Lucknow and local areas around Ghaziabad, but there are no confirmed orders yet. Most are calling in to check on our stock of cutouts on Modi, Mulayam and Akhilesh,” Nitin Vasudeva, owner of a publicity firm at Navyug Market, said.
These cutouts are largely used at road shows and are also installed at the campaign headquarters of the parties in fray. Vasudeva said ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he sold over 40 cutouts, but is yet to get off the mark this time.
The cost of a cutout, 7-8 feet tall, is about ₹2,500 this time. The increase in price by nearly ₹300 has been blamed on the rising cost of PVC. Even news channels ordered 20 cutouts for their election programmes in 2014. This time, however, we don’t have much hope of posting big sales,” Vasudeva said.