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Modi masks are the hottest items in Gujarat's poll mart


Saubhadra Chatterji  |  Vadodara 

Would you like to look like this man? People of Gujarat may or may not want Narendra Modi to be their chief minister for another term. But unaccountably, a lot of them want to look like him.
"Modi mask" is one item in the publicity materials market that is selling briskly this year. The mask has Modi smiling enigmatically, his close-cropped grey beard and trademark spectacles in place.
This is possibly the first election in which masks have been used as a publicity gimmick. Manoj Jain, owner of Manoj printers, specialises in printing and selling election materials.
He has set up shop in a posh area of Baroda and all the Modi masks that he ordered have been sold. "This is the biggest money-earner for us. Among all election materials, Modi's mask has had maximum sales," he said.
As faces go, there could be some debate whether Modi's is the more attractive or Rahul Gandhi's. But although caps "" not masks "" display the dimpled visages of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, these are not moving as briskly as the masks.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may have forfeited deposits on all the seats it had contested last time, but this time, there is demand for its publicity materials, including flags and caps with the elephant symbol, indicating the rising influence of the party in the state.
At a time when the campaign material business has seen an overall fall, the Modi mask is selling. "Business for this year is not even half of what it was in 2002. The Election Commission has issued strict instructions and so not many items are sold," says Jain.
However, traders say the masks have redeemed the situation. "Apart from the BJP, even common people are coming to buy these masks. Everyday I get 10-15 customers," says Jain.

First Published: Thu, December 13 2007. 00:00 IST