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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Social media, alliance politics eat into publicity material business in Ghaziabad

Those into sale and manufacturing of election publicity materials are blaming it on the use of social media platforms and television as major mediums of publicity, the strictness of the election commission and the alliance of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 05, 2019 17:15 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
This election, the ECI has announced Rs 70 lakh as maximum expenditure for the candidates in areas such as Ghaziabad.
This election, the ECI has announced Rs 70 lakh as maximum expenditure for the candidates in areas such as Ghaziabad.(Sakib Ali/ HT Photo )
         

Ghaziabad is wearing a neat look this election season. The quintessential banners, hoardings, flags, posters and graffiti that would paint the city in a riot of colours weeks before polling day are conspicuously missing ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Those into sale and manufacturing of election publicity materials are blaming it on the use of social media platforms and television as major mediums of publicity, the strictness of the election commission and the alliance of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Dr Ashok Vasudeva, who runs a publicity material business, said there was hardly 25% business this election season as compared to general elections in 2014 and assembly elections in 2017. “There is hardly any business as the SP, the BSP, and the RLD are contesting as an alliance. So, publicity material of only one party is left with traders. Then, we have the BJP, which is placing some orders but is still caught up in taking permissions for putting up the materials,” he said.

Vasudeva said in the previous elections, political parties would place order for publicity material five to six weeks in advance.

“During the Prime Minister’s rally on March 8, ahead of the announcement of the Election Code of Conduct, we saw good business. Many banners and flex boards were prepared. But after the implementation of the election model code of conduct, strict regulations and permissions are required for putting up materials. If anything is put up without permission, it is taken down by team of administration and police. So political parties place orders only after getting permission from the election officer ,” he added.

Veenu Baba, a publicity material supplier at Chandrapuri near Navyug Market, says during previous polls, parties placed orders for flags, badges, caps etc and he had a flourishing business.

“The sales are down to just 20% as compared to 2014 elections. We were preparing to finalise flags for the SP and BSP but they formed an alliance. So we could not even prepare a combined flag as both parties have different symbols and their party workers were asking to place their flag first on the layout. So, we dumped the idea of a combined flag. But we prepared their caps with one side painted Red and the other side painted Blue,” he said.

“Nowadays, most candidates do not indulge in purchase of publicity materials from traders but hire a PR agency which arranges everything. The social media boom has impacted publicity campaigns, and our business. Candidates are also cautious of the expenditure limit,” he said.

City councillor Rajendra Tyagi said publicity campaigns during previous elections were massive for which candidates got loudspeakers, publicity material, workers before canvassing.

“I remember the days when one would wake up to find public places studded with posters of candidates. Currently, there are hardly any flag, vehicle with loudspeakers and workers distributing badges, caps,” he said.

This election, the ECI has announced Rs 70 lakh as maximum expenditure for the candidates in areas such as Ghaziabad.

“Several teams are monitoring the expenses and the campaigns. The teams maintain account and also shoot videos of election rallies. The estimated expenditure is then matched with that submitted by the candidates. So there is lot of surveillance and checks in place during the Model Code of Conduct,” said Laxmi Mishra, chief treasury officer, Ghaziabad.

First Published: Apr 05, 2019 17:15 IST

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