| Satyendra Narayan Singh at his shop on Beer Chand Patel Marg in Patna . Pictures by Deepak Kumar
Gujarat may be home to chief minister Nitish Kumar’s bête noire Narendra Modi but ironically campaign material for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls has started arriving from the western state.
Fifty-eight-year-old Satyendra Narayan Singh, who has a shop in the MLA Flats area at Beer Chand Patel Marg, has come back from Ahmedabad with the first lot of election campaign materials since the Lok Sabha elections were announced.
“Yes, I have brought quite a few things of all political parties like BJP, RJD, JD(U), LJP and others. Most things, mainly the printed T-shirts, flags and other materials are manufactured in Ahmedabad. A few things, like small plastic flags, are made in Patna too, but Ahmedabad is the hub. Many don’t know about it though. It is strange as Modi is a political rival of both the JD(U) and the RJD but their election campaign materials come from the land of Modi. But we can’t comment on this as I am a businessman,” Singh told The Telegraph.
The first lot brought by Singh consists of T-shirts, flags of different political parties, BJP caps and wristwatches.
The MLA Flats area, which has a lot of small tailoring shops selling cloth mainly used in making kurtas, the favourite attire of politicians, would soon turn into a hub of political activities as the elections near.
“The T-shirts cost Rs 120 per piece, while a cap comes at Rs 10. Caps of all parties are available. This time, I have brought wristwatches, which are a new entrant in the market. The watches bear the pictures and symbols of leaders and parties. They range between Rs 150 and Rs 300. I have brought them from Delhi. As elections near, more material would arrive,” Singh said.
He added that logos of the political parties in the form of stickers get printed first.
“First, the logos of the political parties are created. Then as alliances happen, the logos change. Now, that the Congress and the RJD are in alliance, the logos will have symbols of both parties and maybe the leaders as well. The same can be said about other alliances too. It is the Lok Sabha elections and things are far bigger than any Assembly election. Bihar being a very politically active state, the sale is always good,” he said.
“In Patna too, poll materials are manufactured but these are mostly small-sized plastic flags. Nowadays, other materials too are manufactured. But in terms of quality, Ahmedabad is the best. Soon, there will be other shops coming up. Sales would start and orders will pour in. The candidates for different seats are fast getting finalised and the leaders and party workers would buy different materials from us for campaigning. In the last Assembly elections, we had brought wall clocks but they were not very popular. The wristwatches can be worn outdoors and we expect these to click and become a hit,” Singh added.
Singh has been in the business for 25 years now.
“In this business, I have seen many governments come and go. I don’t really want to comment on any political party. However, the RJD, whether it is on a high or a low, are one of our best customers. They spend a lot in each of their rallies and other forms of campaigns. Nowadays, the masks of different leaders are a huge rage. It is election time and we are hoping for a bumper sale. More materials would arrive soon,” Singh said.