Kolkata: Masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are giving tough competition to sarees decked with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) symbol of twin flowers. This year, the nine-yard attire has joined the brigade of caps, t-shirts and other campaign material selling like hot cakes in West Bengal.
Shopkeepers of the busy Pagya Patti lane in central Kolkata's wholesale hub, Burrabazar, are toiling hard to supply these innovative textile goods.
"Since the announcement of dates, we have been getting bulk orders from party workers. In Bengal, the maximum orders for such sarees and T-shirts have been placed by the ruling party, TMC. This time the goods bearing BJP's symbol have also gained in popularity," Paras Gambhir, the owner of a 45-year-old shop, S.P Textiles, told IANS.
The raw material for the sarees are sourced from Surat and Ahmedabad. A single piece of the cotton- and polyester-mixed saree is priced at Rs 160.
Gambhir, however, refused to divulge even the approximate orders placed by different political parties.
He mentioned that they also have a stock of clothing items bearing the political symbols of the Congress and CPI (M), but there is hardly any demand for these.
"For these goods, the bulk order is placed by the parties. But at times many party fans come here to buy some of these items and, altogether, we have been doing a business of more than one lakh rupees every day," he said.
"The supporters are mostly purchasing items to support BJP. The party is definitely gaining ground in the state", he added.
The outlet has a stock of masks bearing the cut outs of prominent leaders like Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee. There are other items like jackets, caps, T-shirts, flags and so on.
"The demand for Modi masks is very high as compared to all others," he said.
The businessman was hesitant to share his opinion on the fate of any political party in the state and even about his preferred Prime Ministerial candidate.
"Bengal mein development toh honi hi chahiye. Didi ne jo kiya hai, usse better kaun karega woh toh dekhna parega (Bengal should witness more development, we have to see who does it better than whatever 'didi' (Mamata Banerjee) has done," a customers said without divulging his name.
Gambhir added that he is happy with the overall development in the country, apart from the problems he had to face during demonetisation and due to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The state is gearing up for the seven-phase election to be held in the months of April and May.