CityClothes you can’t wear
Garment factories produce thousands of shirts hoping netas would place orders for LS polls. But EC ban on garments with party symbols has upset their calculations
Posted On Friday, March 20, 2009 at 12:08:59 AM
Election Commission’s ban on shirts and T-shirts with party symbols and slogans for campaigning in the coming Lok Sabha polls has come as a blow to the garment industry in Bangalore.
The EC’s ban came into force in the assembly elections in Karnataka last year. The recession-hit garment factories have now decided to write to the EC requesting it to withdraw the ban in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Karnataka Hosiery and Garment Association President Sajjan Raj Mehta says, “During elections many political parties and even independent candidates order shirts and T-shirts on which their party slogans and symbols are printed. Garments factories produced a large amount of plain shirts and T-shirts expecting huge orders. If plain shirts and T-shirts are ready it takes less time to print party slogans, symbols and photos of candidates on them.”
In the last Lok Sabha elections each candidate reportedly purchased between 15,000 and 20,000 shirts and T-shirts. These garments doubled as cheap mode of publicity as well as inexpensive gifts for middle class and lower income group voters.
Garment supplier Vikas says, “Due to recession many companies have stopped ordering shirts and T-shirts. We had great hope that political parties will give huge orders during elections but the decision of Election Commission has shattered all hopes.”
During elections garment factories in the city produce three qualities of shirts and T-shirts to suit the budgets of political parties. Low quality T-shirts cost Rs 35, average quality Rs 45 and high quality Rs 150-175. High quality T-shirts are used by a party’s executive members and volunteers when they go on door-to-door campaign.
“Last year, JD(S) ordered 8,000 T-shirts and BJP 15,000. Congress approached us to manufacture 10,000 T-shirts but we could not as we had enough orders. This year there are no signs of getting orders. We manufactured plain T-shirts thinking that we will get last-minute orders,” Vikas says.
“Distributing T-shirts is not as offensive as distributing liquor. These garments are used by party workers for campaigning. By banning T-shirts the Election Commission is forcing political parties to resort to steps like distributing liquor,” says a garment maker, who does not wish to be named.