Ban on rallies in Punjab elections hits small traders hard

Ban on rallies in Punjab elections hits small traders hard

A worker sifts through election material in Patiala. Rajesh Sachar

Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, January 12

These days, 46-year-old Naresh Kumar, who earned a living by renting out LED screens for functions and political rallies, is hard-pressed to make ends meet.

The ban on rallies, roadshows and street meetings in view of the Covid pandemic till January 15 has hit small traders like him hard.

Naresh now repairs LED screens at a makeshift shop to provide for his family. He hopes against hope that the ban would be lifted after January 15, but with cases rising, it seems unlikely.

Paramjit Singh, who owns a tent shop near Fountain Chowk here, says: “The Assembly elections are usually the time to make money. A single rally by a state-level leader in Patiala would translate into a business of Rs 2-3 lakh. This time, however, things are not looking good.”

Caterers, too, are incurring losses. Subhash Negi, who owns a shop at Sherawalan Gate, says: “In the previous elections, leaders usually hired caterers for a month and paid in advance. During the 2019 General Election, I made around Rs 10 lakh by covering three candidates in a month. Contrast this to today’s scenario. No candidate has approached me for the catering service till now.”

Taxi business is also facing the heat. From renting out around 10 taxis per candidate every day in the previous elections, the number is down to zero, says Laljit Singh of Laali Taxi Service.

Those in the business of supplying election material to parties have also been hit by the Election Commission (EC) guideline to ban rallies.

“In 2017, I did brisk business. The daily sale was more than Rs 1 lakh. This time, it is not even Rs 10,000,” says Rajesh Kumar, who has been supplying election material for two decades.

He and other traders are keeping their fingers crossed and waiting for the new EC guidelines post January 15.

On the downswing

The orders for flags, stickers and caps have dried up. In 2017, I did brisk business. The daily sale was more than Rs1 lakh. This time, it is not even Rs10,000. — Rajesh Kumar, supplier of poll material

Tribune Shorts


Top Stories

Congress will take decision on CM face for Punjab after discussions with party workers: Rahul Gandhi

Congress will soon announce party's CM face in Punjab: Rahul Gandhi

'Both Sidhu and Channi are of the opinion that two cannot le...

Air India handed over to Tata Group

Tata Group takes over Air India

Group company chairman N Chandrasekaran meets PM Modi ahead ...

1984 anti-Sikh riots: HC asks SIT to respond to plea for action against Congress leader Kamal Nath

1984 anti-Sikh riots: HC asks SIT to respond to plea for action against Congress leader Kamal Nath

The case is related to a mob of rioters storming the Gurdwar...

Apex drug regulator grants conditional market approval to Covaxin and Covishield

Regular market approval granted for Covishield, Covaxin for use in adult population

The approval has been granted under the New Drugs and Clinic...

Chinese Army hands over missing Arunachal boy to Indian Army: Minister

Chinese Army hands over missing Arunachal boy to Indian Army: Minister

The 19-year-old Miram Taron of Jido Village in Upper Siang D...

Cities

View All