2019 general elections: Sale of party flags, banners dull, say traders

Chennai: With less than 35 days to go for Lok Sabha polls, those selling party flags, banners say their business is dull.
“With no big orders coming our way mainly due to the plastic ban and Election Commission’s strict supervision, things are not looking rosy,” say traders.
The clamour for cut-outs and banners among Dravidian parties is well-known. Be it political meetings, marriages or campaigns, these banners, cutouts and T-shirts bearing party symbol and pictures of leaders, sell like hot cakes. But the order this time is comparatively less compared to the same period last year.
Asked for the reason, a vendor says, “The High Court is strict on hoardings and banners. Also, not wanting to be in the bad books of the general public, parties do not to opt for banners.”
“With social media taking centrestage, parties prefer to go for online campaigns. The trend started with 2014 elections,” he says.
Mugilan, who outsources banners, flags and caps from manufacturing units in Tirupur, says, “Dhoti orders are the most common so far. With so many parties in the fray, we get plenty of enquiries. Also, we getting plenty of orders for car flags.”
With the Tamilnadu government enforcing a ban on plastic, the small flags generally used by supporters to wave during rallies has disappeared, he adds.
Kannan, who runs his factory in Sivakasi, says, “Orders for posters are down by 30 per cent, compared to 2014. Digital banners are preferred by political parties for they are comparatively cheap.”
Last elections, we sold a good number of caps, decorative hangings and hand fans, he says.
He says, “However, poll fever has not picked up. Maybe once the leaders hit the campaign trail, our business will pick up.”
“The Election Commission’s close watch is impacting our business. But then, who says ‘no’ to flags and banners yet?” he asked.

M BHARAT KUMAR