The non-partisan approach translates into profits for him and the queue of 20-odd shops at Lalbaug.
Vinay Tendolkar runs a 36-year-old shop which makes and sells political paraphernalia. It's been his family business to meet the publicity material needs of all political parties: The non-partisan approach translates into profits for him and the queue of 20-odd shops at Lalbaug.
Tendolkar's shop used to manufacture religious masks and dress material earlier. But a request from a Sena worker in 1983 to make buttons with the party's bow-and-arrow symbol changed his business paradigm. In the '90s, then chief election commissioner TN Seshan had imposed restrictions on outdoor publicity and portraying candidates' faces. It was then that a Jalgaon politician approached him with an order of t-shirts with his nickname on them.
His business hasn't looked down since, as the number of candidates has grown from the 2-4 contenders back then.
"There were fewer parties back then — Shiv Sena, Congress and BJP. Now, there are so many more. On the other hand, there is also social media now, but it falls short when it comes to door-to-door campaigning, for which material is needed," said Tendolkar.
His shop manufactures a motley of publicity material like balloons bearing political insignia, masks, badges and flags of traditional parties as well as the 'Johnny come lately' parties, he said.
Tendolkar quipped that in this age of exhibitionism, his ware occupies centre stage, whereas earlier, the work done by a politician was primary and publicity material was only a secondary effort.
With more than 20 shops in the area, his faces stiff competition. And when the poll season is done, orders for local sports and religious events keep the businesses going. In this high season, though, business is brisk.