Anees Bhai, an artisan in Sadar Bazar, who supplies cutouts, flags and posters to political parties used to look forward to the elections with great hope and expectations.

"I used to get orders of 5,000 flags, which is now reduced to mere 100 flags," he said.
Since the Election Commission started putting special emphasis on anti-defacement drive, demands for posters, banners, flags and cutouts have come down drastically.

"Earlier, at least 25 cars used to accompany a candidate in an election rally, which is now reduced to five. So, the flags, cutouts, posters and other promotional items used on these cars have come down," Anees said.

Businessmen have cited the Model Code of Conduct and expenditure limits set by the Election Commission as some of the reasons for the drop in sales of election publicity items.

Perhaps another factor hampering the business of these artisans is the shift of the campaigning towards social media.

"Aam Aadmi Party taught other political parties that you can campaign and win election through social media. That had a negative effect on our business too as now people rely more on social media," said Shamshad Ali, a shopkeepers at Sadar Bazaar.

"There used to be a time when 2,000 artisans used to work but now hardly 10 artisans in my shop are involved in this work," Mohammad Chamman, another shopkeeper at the market, said.

He added that most of the artisans have given up on designing the poll-related items and moved to other professions.

The elections in Delhi would be held for seven Lok Sabha constituencies on April 10 and counting will take place on May 16.


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