Lok Sabha elections 2024: Demand for political merchandise booms in Bengal as elections draw near

The northern part of West Bengal, which will go to polls in the first few phases, is particularly witnessing a surge in demand for the political merchandise.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 04:33 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 04:33 IST

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Kolkata: As Lok Sabha elections draw near, the political merchandise market, both offline and online, in West Bengal has started booming, with tee shirts sporting slogans such as 'Khela Hobe', 'Nation with NaMo' and 'NaMo again' selling like hot cakes.

Market analysts said that while merchandise extending support to the Trinamool Congress is a hit in the wholesale markets of Burrabazar and Canning Street in Kolkata, those of the BJP top the charts on e-commerce platforms.

The northern part of West Bengal, which will go to polls in the first few phases, is particularly witnessing a surge in demand for the political merchandise, they said.

In the wholesale markets of the eastern metropolis, hundreds of shops have been adorned with a vibrant array of political merchandise, ranging from flags to key chains, caps, umbrellas, and sunglasses bearing political symbols.

However, the quality and price of goods available in wholesale markets differ substantially from those available on e-commerce platforms.

"In the wholesale markets, there has been a steady increase in demand for these goods, with TMC merchandise leading the sales, followed by those of the CPI(M) and Congress. However, there has been lesser demand for BJP merchandise," Sanjay Chandrana of Shivam Textiles told PTI.

Debashish Palodhy of Taramaa Enterprises anticipates a further spike in sales following Poila Boisakh, the Bengali New Year, which is on Sunday. Other merchants also echoed his sentiments.

Manufacturer and supplier Shivam Pagarh of Gourisut Textiles in Gujarat's Surat said he has been receiving consistent inquiries about political merchandise, which shows a surge in its demand.

He predicted that the demand will grow after the festive season.

He said textile manufacturers are prepared to increase their production capacity to meet the demand.

Sayantani Saha of Noise Tee said that polyester tee shirts with political slogans are in demand.

"There is more demand for TMC merchandise, while there is not much demand for those of BJP and other parties. We are ready to increase our capacity if demand increases further," she said.

Online e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Meesho and Flipkart are also tapping into people's enthusiasm for the Lok Sabha elections, which are the largest democratic exercise in the world, by offering a diverse range of political merchandise, ranging from trendy and premium apparel to mass-priced key chains and home decor items.

A seller on one of the leading e-commerce platforms said that BJP's merchandise is selling more as compared to other parties.

However, reactions from Amazon and Flipkart on the sale of political merchandise on their platforms were not available.

The major differences between merchandise offered in wholesale markets and online platforms, however, are quality and pricing.

While bulk tee shirts in Burrabazar are priced between Rs 50 and Rs 70 each and are made of polyester, online offerings are typically single-piece retail products and crafted from cotton, with significantly higher prices.

A polyester saree with political images costs between Rs 150 and Rs 300 in wholesale markets, whereas it costs upwards of Rs 500 per piece online.

Political parties have welcomed the enthusiasm among the public regarding the elections, and said these merchandise increase the visibility of parties.

BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said that colourful political merchandise such as tee shirts and sarees increases a party's visibility, but voting patterns depend on political understanding and the nature of the election, whether it is national or local.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Santanu Sen said that visual impression through logos and photographs has a lot of impact on voters.

"There will always be innovation in campaigning," he added.

Published 14 April 2024, 04:33 IST

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