Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh is all set to to the polls on November 17, the candidates in the fray for the polls are campaigning in full swing but shopkeepers, selling election campaign material, appear dispirited.
There are around 20 small and big shops of election campaign materials in the state capital Bhopal, where party flags, cut-outs of leaders, posters, badges, scarfs, caps, t-shirts and other campaign materials are being sold. But as the campaign moved to social media the traditional market seems to have lost out.
The shopkeepers say that the biggest festival of democracy in Madhya Pradesh is not yielding a fruitful outcome for them yet. They claimed that they were seeing a massive downfall in their market and bearing a loss of almost 50 per cent in comparison to that of the previous 2018 state assembly polls.
A shopkeeper from Delhi, Shambhu Nath Patel, who usually sets up his shop in the poll-bound states across the country after a tentative announcement of dates of polls, held social media responsible for the downfall in the purchase of the electoral campaigning materials.
Patel told ANI, "It has been almost two months since I started my shop here. Wherever elections are held, we set up our shops there. This time in Madhya Pradesh, there is a huge decline in the market as compared to that of the last time. During the 2018 assembly polls, the market was very good but this time the orders have not picked up yet. It is expected to get orders in the next two days. In this hope, we are sitting here though there is a downfall of almost half as compared to that of the last time." Talking about the reason for the deflation in their market, the shopkeeper said that the main reason for the shrinking clientele was social media. Due to the promotion on social media, there was a significant decrease in the purchase of party flags, banners, posters, cap, scarfs, T-shirts, etc. which they were selling.
He further said during the last assembly polls there was more time for the polls (last time poll was held on November 28 in MP), so the candidates would buy campaign materials. This time there is a shortage of time for the campaign, therefore, there is a decline in the market.
Meanwhile, Patel also said that if the situation would continue like this in future then they felt that they would have to stop this business and think of something else. As of now he hopes to get orders in the next two days.
Local shopkeeper, Durga told ANI, "This time, there has been a lot of affect in the market in comparison to that of the previous elections. Earlier, a lot of material was sold but this time the customers had not arrived yet. Voting is going to take place on November 17 but there is silence in the shop. Compared to the last time, we are incurring heavy losses." Madhya Pradesh is one of the five states set to undergo polls in one phase on November 17 and the counting of votes will take place on December 3. Voters will choose legislators from 230 Assembly constituencies.