Kolkata, Mar 9: It is election time once again in West Bengal and the traders dealing in campaign materials and tools are out to make some fast bucks.
Almost all political parties in the fray have placed their orders much before the announcement of the election dates to hit the campaign trail faster than others.
The shop of 55-year-old Ashis Sadhukan at Burrabazar is buzzing with activity these days as campaigners make a beeline haggling over prices of materials. "My father started the business in late 70s.
It is a profitable business during the poll time, whether it's municipal poll, Lok Sabha poll or Assembly poll," Sadhukan, who is in the business for three decades, told PTI.
Campaign materials like vinyl box posters, flex, paper posters, cut-outs, banners, flags, handbills, kites, caps, pens and umbrellas printed with party symbols are the top draws among the parties. The traders are finding it difficult to cope with the flow of orders, which, they say, are still pouring in. Do they show any preference for the "big daddies" of election - TMC, CPI-M or BJP? The answer is 'no'. "For us all political parties are the same.
They are our customers and we treat them equally. We charge the same rate for products irrespective of political parties and their clout," Sadhukan said.
Sadhukan said that one of the biggest attractions this time is flags carrying signs of both Congress (Hand) and CPI(M) (Sickle and hammer). "As you everyday sees report of alliance between the CPI-M and the Congress, so orders have been placed for flags and posters embossed with the emblems of the two parties," he said.
Just like Sadhukan, Biren Natto of Bowbazar who has been in this business for the last 17 years, has put up additional printing machines in his press to deal with the growing pressure of orders.
"Orders will increase once all the parties come out with their candidates list. It will speed up further with the first phase of nominations," Natto said.