Lok Sabha elections 2019: Citing uncertainty of SP-BSP alliance, Lucknow traders go slow on investing in campaign material

Mohan Agarwal started selling material for SP since the party was founded by Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1992 and used to sell party material for Congress since 1970. (IE photo)

Even as the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party promise a phenomenal performance in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the traders of Lucknow are reluctant to invest in material needed for bearing the symbols of both the SP and the BSP.

The alliance, which was formalised in January, will contest from 37 and 38 seats, respectively. The RLD, which is also a part of the alliance, will fight from three seats.

According to a report by The Indian Express, some of the traders who deal with campaign material are unsure about the future of the alliance and are reluctant to order material bearing the symbols of these parties.

Seventy-year-old Mohan Lal Agarwal told Indian Express that he does not know how long the alliance will last and hence, he has not invested a lot of money in the material used to make items for the alliance. Agarwal Bandhu, his shop, used to sell publicity material for the SP and started dealing with BSP material as well after the alliance was announced.

Mohan Agarwal started selling material for SP since the party was founded by Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1992 and used to sell party material for Congress since 1970. “After SP was formed in 1992 by Netaji, I started selling material for them. The party did well without alliances too. Let us see what happens this time,” he said.

“Pata nahi, kisi din man motav ho jaye Behnji aur Akhileshji ke beech mein, aur gathbandhan toot jaye. Humara toh nuksan ho jayega… (Don’t know when differences might crop up between Behenji and Akhilesh and the alliance is called off. We will have to suffer losses),” he told Indian Express.

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Another trader also underscored the concern over the quantity in which they should order the materials. Ravindra Agarwal, owner of Shubh Mayank Traders, outside the SP office in Lucknow’s Vikraditya Marg, said he is not sure how much material should be ordered.

“Risk toh hai. Hum risk le rahe hain. Order de diya banners ka, but nuksaan ho sakta hai. Jab party ke candidate log risk le sakte hain, toh hum kyu na le. Aage gathbandhan toot gaya, toh dekhi jayegi (There’s obviously a risk and we are taking it. Why shouldn’t we take a risk when party candidates are doing it. If the alliance is called off in the future, we will see what to do),” Ravindra said.

“Jua khel rahe 50,000 pe. Aage dekhte hain, kab tak gathbandhan rahega ki nahi, aur kitni demand hogi (We are gambling with Rs 50,000. Let’s see what the future holds and if the alliance lasts and what the demand is like),” he said.

Agarwal said that he is waiting for orders and has also made a few items in advance. He added that as of now no one has demanded for RLD chief, Ajit Singh’s picture and party symbol.

Another trader, Rohit, who reportedly sells party material in a cart outside the BSP office in UP capital, said he was yet to order anything, except car flags, adding that there is a demand for car flags. However, he also feared a scenario where a big order comes and the alliance falls apart. He added that he is wary of that and can’t say anything at the moment.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party and the BSP are slated to hold a series of joint rallies for the Lok Sabha polls, with the first being on April 7. The first of these joint rallies will be held in Saharanpur district’s Deoband town on April 7 and will be addressed by SP president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati and RLD president Ajit Singh.

There will be several joint rallies in the state and besides the SP and BSP, the Rashtriya Lok Dal will be also part of these public meeting.

On Wednesday, Yadav had met Mayawati and discussed their campaign with joint rallies during Navratra. Media reports suggest that Mayawati, who may not contest the Lok Sabha elections herself, may campaign for SP patriarch and longtime rival Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri. The senior Yadav will be contesting elections from here.

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