Bittersweet: Fight Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, political battle finds a sweet turf

Customers gather at the shop to buy sweets with symbols of political parties (right) in Howrah on Tuesday. (Partha Paul)

The poll battle in Bengal has taken a sweet turn. As political parties gear up for the Lok Sabha elections, sweets with symbols of different political parties are available in market in Howrah. Located on Netaji Subhash Road in Howrah, Maa Gandheshwari Sweets is dishing out nirbachoni mishti (poll sweets) to customers.

“Bengal and mishti (sweets) are synonymous. We have come up with this idea to cater something special to the sweet lovers of Bengal this poll season,” said Pradip Haldar, owner of the shop, while giving shape to a sandesh with the symbol of the ruling Trinamool Congress. Apart from the Trinamool’s jora ghas phool (twin flowers in grass), the Congress’ hand, BJP’s lotus and the CPI(M)’s axe, hammer and star have all found their way to the traditional Bengali sweets.

Regular customers and enthusiastic party workers throng the shop daily to pick their favourite rosogolla or sondesh, daubed with their preferred party colours. “The BJP is giving a tough time to Trinamool in my shop,” said Haldar, who has been running the shop for the last 30 years and is known for making theme-based sweets.

“Each sondesh costs Rs 50 and is bigger than the normal ones. The prices of our sweets range from Rs 2 to Rs 50. The political sondesh are the costliest,” Debobrata Maity, a shop employee told The Indian Express. Earlier, the shop had also designed a special sweet with the joint symbols of CPI(M) and Congress, after Halder had heard news of a possible understanding between the two parties. However, no such alliance materialised and those sweets were removed from the stock.

According to Halder, the cost of the special sweets with party symbols are the same, as irrespective of demand, the quality of any item has not been compromised.
The novel sweets have been successful in attracting customers in droves. “Dada, 20 ta Trinamool rosogolla deben toh (Dada, give me 20 pieces of Trinamool rosogolla),” said Dhritiman Bhattacharya, a banker, who chose the green ones “because of the flavour”.

“Neither the CPM sweets nor the Congress ones are much in demand. However, the Trinamool and BJP sweets are vanishing from the trays fast,” added Haldar.
He said he had felt the need to tap the mood of the people and create something to keep up with the trend.

Despite sales going up, Haldar is waiting for the day when the election results will be declared. “We get order from the winning party in bulk,” he added. “Vote is a festival. Let political parties fight, but as voters, we must all celebrate the biggest festival of democracy. Through my sweets, I am also reminding people to cast their vote,” said Haldar.

Article source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/bittersweet-fight-ahead-of-lok-sabha-elections-political-battle-finds-a-sweet-turf-5644466/


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