The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 4 , 2014
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Poll material at doorstep

Patna, March 3: A kiosk selling poll material has come up on Beer Chand Patel Marg, set to draw political parties and candidates waiting for the announcement of Lok Sabha election dates.

Anybody looking for large or small cutouts of any political leader can just head to this particular stretch, which houses the state offices of four political parties — the RJD, the JD(U), the BJP and the NCP. From cutouts, banners, posters, wristbands, masks, pens, stickers, caps, badges to ribbons, every poll material is available under one roof.

“Sale is yet to pick up. Once the election dates and names of candidates are announced, business would be brisk,” said Bablu Sharma, the manager of the city-based Sai Traders.

He added: “The shop is not permanent, once the election is over, we would go to some other state, where Assembly election is scheduled. Before Bihar, we had put up makeshift stalls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, where Assembly elections were held last year.”

The price of poll material varies between Rs 3 and Rs 1,000 per piece. The prices of cutouts, posters, banners differ according to the size. Even visiting cards embossed with photographs of leaders are available. The JD(U) visiting card bears the picture of Nitish Kumar, the BJP that of Narendra Modi, the Congress that of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, the BSP that of Mayawati, the SP that of Mulayam Singh Yadav and the RJD that of Lalu Prasad.

“We just source the material from Delhi and sell it. We do not have a soft corner for any particular political party. It’s our business, so we have to remain unbiased and neutral. We never praise or criticise any leader or any political party in the presence of customers,” said Bablu.

Once the Lok Sabha election dates and candidates’ names are announced, more such makeshift shops would come up on Beer Chand Patel Marg.

The shop also stores dummy electronic voting machines (EVMs). “Candidates mainly buy the dummy EVMs to take them to rural areas to demonstrate how the villagers should cast their votes for a particular candidate. We sell each EVM set for Rs 150. We do brisk business during election time and so make sure to utilise the opportunity in the best way,” said Bablu.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cap is the latest election material added by the shop owner. “Till last year, we never had any election material related to the AAP. However, ever since the party came into limelight, we have started selling these,” said Bablu.

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