The Assembly election in Rajasthan is drawing near but the traders selling the traditional campaign merchandise are far from upbeat as the demand has dropped this year compared to earlier polls.
Polling in Rajasthan will be held on November 25 and the results will be out on December 3.
Except for hoardings, the streets and intersections are not festooned with flags and banners of the parties contesting the polls.
Lokesh Aggarwal of Chhaganlal & Sons, one the state’s oldest election campaign material manufacturing firms, said, “As per our estimates, candidates of major political parties used to spend about Rs 100-150 crore on campaign materials and buy from state vendors and manufacturers during assembly election.”
“However, this time, according to trade estimates, this figure should have come down to almost half, and in total only Rs 75-80 crore should have been spent by the parties on campaign material until November 14,” Aggarwal said.
The demand is low both from the political parties and independents fighting the polls.
”Even in the coming 8-9 days, we do not expect a big surge in the demand,” Aggarwal said.
Suresh Jhalani of Trupti Enterprises, who has set up his shop outside the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee office here, says that due to low demand for usual promotional material, new items coupled with old traditional stuff have been made this time.
“Traditional flags, caps, batches, wrist bands, stickers and dummy EVM machines are being prepared for sale. Flags depending on the size are being sold at Rs 10 to Rs 40, bandanas from Rs 3 to Rs 18, caps from Rs 2 to Rs 40, wrist bands for Rs 6, stickers from Rs 5 to Rs 20, and dummy EVM ranging from Rs 120 to Rs 180,” he added.
Aggarwal and Jhalani said the other reason for the low demand is because the promotional material has been brought by political parties from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
“Earlier, we used to have good business from across the state, but this time it seems candidates are buying campaign and publicity materials from other states. We do not understand the reason behind it. Maybe, it is available at cheaper rates. But when it comes to quality, we are as good as others,” said a vendor selling products near the Congress office here.
“We all are hoping that the rallies or public meetings will gather momentum, and some demand is back after Diwali,” the vendor said.