Few takers for political calendars in Bengal poll season (Election Special)
Jostling amidst the crowd in a narrow lane of Bengal's famous wholesale hub Burrabazar, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi waves to the electorate while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee smiles - from the calendars that dangle in the shops.
The entire Jackson Lane is dotted with shops selling a wide variety of calendars. Since the Bengali New Year kicked off April 15, the shops are packed with customers clamouring for calendar designs varying from landscapes to religious icons.
But the samples of political calendars, replete with of party symbols and portrayals of their leaders stay untouched, even at the peak of the election season.
A peek at their designs, displaying faces of politicos, reveals the political change or 'parivartan' in West Bengal with time. However, the change seems to have failed to boost the sale of these chronological reminders.
Speaking about the political ones, Aman Jha of Aman Calendars told IANS, "Sample toh sab rakhte hai par order kahaan aata hai (every shopkeeper has the samples, but orders are hardly placed)."
The surge in popularity of such political calendars is a recent phenomenon. The orders came pouring in during the assembly elections when the Trinamool Congress came to power.
"We witnessed the sale of calendars with the face of (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee during the assembly elections. Years back after Rajiv Gandhi's death such calendars were sold," remarked Pappu Jha, owner of Ganapati Traders.
No other party leaders except Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee were seen on the sample calendars. But even they could not garner much sale. It was one and the same story in almost every shop.
C.N. Jha, owner of a small shop, however, bucks the trend. He received an order for 500 calendars at Rs.7 per piece bearing the picture of Mamata Banerjee.
There is a near unanimity among the calendar vendors that they wish to see Narendra Modi as the next prime minister.
"Bengal mein toh Didi hai hi (Mamata Banerjee is here in Bengal)," said Manoj Kumar Jha of Ashish Calendars.
When asked about Banerjee's prospect as the next PM, Pappu said: "Unka toh chance hi nahi hai, PM toh Modi hi chahiye (she has no chance and Modi is wanted as the PM)."
(Soumili Ghosh can be contacted at email@example.com and Binita Das can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 18-04-2014)