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Low Demand For Parties Merchandise

By Anushka Bhardwaj
April 08, 2024 11:29 IST
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'Merchandise plays a key role in creating buzz about a specific party.'

IMAGE: Students participate in a voter awareness campaign at the Government Home Science College in Jabalpur, April 3, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

With the 18th Lok Sabha elections beginning in a couple of weeks, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their visibility.

A plethora of merchandise, including t-shirts, mugs, caps, mufflers, and badges -- adorned with party logos and leaders' photos -- are now available on various online and offline platforms.

The demand for such merchandise surges once all the candidates are announced, said a spokesperson for Fibre to Fashion, a Tamil Nadu-based customised t-shirt selling firm.

"The enquiries have, however, risen as the dates of the polls have been announced."

"Merchandise plays a key role in creating buzz about a specific party," observed Nishant Patel, a seasoned political campaigner who has worked with multiple parties on-ground campaigns.

But many new and smaller parties and individual candidates who cannot use merchandise on a grand scale also see success.

Therefore, these products majorly act as a bonus technique, he further said.

Last fortnight, the Bharatiya Janata Party launched its official NaMo merchandise, exclusively available on the Narendra Modi app.

The app offers a variety of products, including notebooks, fridge magnets, pens, and keychains, along with the option for buying combos of products.

Rahul Sharma, co-convenor of the NaMo app, revealed that caps, t-shirts, and keychains have been the top-selling products so far.

"A t-shirt with the slogan Main Hoon Modi Ka Parivaar accounts for nearly 50 per cent of total t-shirt sales," Sharma said.

The slogan Main Hoon Modi ka Parivaar, gained popularity after Rashtriya Janata Dal patron Lalu Prasad taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi about having no family of his own.

Hitting out at the remarks, Modi while addressing a public meeting in Telangana's Adilabad had said: 'Those who have nobody have Modi and Modi is there for them... Hence today the whole country is saying in one voice -- Main hoon Modi ka parivaar.'

"We launch any slogan as soon as leaders trend it," said Manoj Vijayakumar of, an online retail store selling customised t-shirts for political parties.

Many sellers started manufacturing the NaMo hat-trick hoodie as soon as some ministers were seen wearing it, Vijayakumar said.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur was spotted wearing a NaMo hat-trick hoodie in Parliament in early February.

While the BJP is the only national party to have launched official merchandise for the Lok Sabha polls so far, the Congress is looking to make its presence felt through this medium.

Vaibhav Walia, chairman of the Congress' Communication war-room 2024, shared: "For the Lok Sabha elections, we are doing t-shirts (Hath Badlega Halaat), hand symbol caps, and candidate t-shirts, among other things."

The party launched a lot of merchandise during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra using slogans like Nyay Ka Haqq Milne Tak.

Another national player, the Aam Aadmi Party, however, said it is not planning anything like this shortly.

Ajay Agrawal of Sheela Ad Makers, a political merchandise manufacturer from Lucknow, noted that demand varies from region to region.

He shared that his firm receives a lot of orders for the merchandise of the Bahujan Samaj Party, along with the Congress and the BJP.

The Shiv Sena and AAP are also in the race, Agrawal added.

Tamil Nadu-based Vijaykumar said has received a lot of enquiries about Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) t-shirts.

"Along with NaMo hoodies, we see demand for En Mann En Makkal (my land, my people) slogan merchandise."

Meanwhile, online retailers are experimenting with new products like mugs, silicon light bands, balloons for children, sarees, keychains, magnets, and phone covers, selling across multiple e-commerce platforms, including Flipkart and Amazon.

On the other hand, offline retailers are keeping it basic, mostly offering fabric products (flags, t-shirts, shawls and sash) with a simple logo or photo of a party leader.

In the bustling lanes of Delhi's Sadar Bazaar, the impending elections have yet to make a significant impact.

Among the few shops, which have already started selling political merchandise, most have shelves full of products related to only one party.

"The business of political merchandise is unusually sluggish this time around. It seems they (other political parties) know the result," said the shopkeeper at Vikram Enterprises, hinting that demand is only for BJP merchandise right now.

"The orders aren't coming in as the BJP prefers centralised distribution. It gives party workers the merchandise, so they don't place big orders here," he elaborated.

The owner of Muskaan Traders, another establishment in Sadar Bazaar, laments that those who attend political party meetings end up grabbing the orders.

"This wasn't the case before. The demand was robust, which is why we have so many flag shops in the area. But now, no one is receiving orders," he said.

Among the new items on offer this year at Sadar Bazaar are shawls emblazoned with the prime minister's visage and mock electronic voting machines.

Despite the current lull, traders across various platforms remain optimistic.

They anticipate that once all candidates are finalised and the Holi rush subsides, the political merchandise business may experience an uptick.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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Anushka Bhardwaj
Source: source
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024