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UP polls: SP workers’ resolve to don red caps godsend for poll merch sellers

Lucknow, Jan 28 (PTI) Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “red cap is red alert” jibe, Samajwadi Party workers are buying the cap in hordes in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh to drive home their point that the headgear is a symbol of “change and revolution”.

And the SP’s resolve to prove a point has come as blessing for those selling election paraphernalia as they are witnessing a huge jump in the sales of red caps, a compensation of sorts for the losses they have suffered due to the ban on election rallies due to Covid.

Led by party chief Akhilesh Yadav, SP leaders and workers are registering a silent protest against the prime minister’s statement by flaunting their red caps, according to senior leaders.

“Today, every leader and worker of SP is campaigning in villages and streets of the state while wearing a red cap,” SP national spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan told PTI.

“After PM Modi and CM Adityanath’s statement that red, the colour of socialism, is a ‘red alert for UP’ and ‘goons with red caps’, party leaders and workers are putting on red caps to bring back socialism in the state and change the current government,” he added.

Addressing a rally in Gorakhpur in December last year, Modi had targeted the SP, saying those in red caps were a “red alert” and “sign of danger” for the state.

In February last year, Adityanath had said every child sees those wearing red caps as “goons”. He had also said the House should not be taken lightly as a “drama company” with some members sporting caps in red, some blue, some yellow or even green.

Raju Shukla of Sheela Enterprises, a wholesaler of election material here said, due to the Election Commission’s ban on physical rallies and roadshows to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the sale of banners, posters and other campaign merchandise is low except for the red caps which are selling in huge numbers.

“As there is no restriction on wearing a cap, people are preferring it,” Shukla said.

Shukla said he is offering a variety of ‘red caps’ at different price points.

You can get 100 caps for either Rs 2,500 or Rs 1,500. These are of superior quality and usually adorned by the SP leaders, he said.

Apart from this, there is another variety which costs Rs 150 per hundred pieces. This cap has the cycle — election symbol of the SP — on one side and either ‘Akhilesh Yadav’ or ‘Samajwadi Party’ printed on the other, he added.

He said these caps are donned by party supporters in election rallies and processions.

Lamenting that that the sale of caps is not enough to sustain the business, Shukla took comfort in the fact that most of his employees are able to keep their jobs and not stare at unemployment.

“Only selling caps will not bring profit, but still it’s good that something is being sold. Due to the rising demand of red caps, most of my employees are engaged in its making,” he said.

Corroborating his views, Narendra of ‘Saxena Bandhu’, a shop selling election campaign material here, said besides the red caps, ‘socialist masks’ with the SP’s election symbol are also on sale.

“Because every person is wearing a mask due to COVID-19, we have made red-coloured masks with the SP’s election symbol printed on them,” he said.

He said most of the SP workers are buying these masks to campaign for the party while protecting themselves from coronavirus.

When asked whether if their caps and masks are going to other cities too, Shukla and Narendra said, “Our material is mostly supplied around Lucknow as there are such shops are there in almost every district.” Amit of Ayush Publicity Centre and Alok Kumar of Balaji Enterprises too aired similar views.

SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said, “Our national President Akhilesh Yadav and founder Mulayam Singh Yadav used to wear red caps for a long time. We are also wearing it now. After the PM’s and CM’s statement against it, all Samajwadis are wearing red caps, which is our identity.” PTI ZIR ABN SNS RHL

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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