Political yarn: poll heat spins khadi sales up

Khadi may be suiting all climes,but nothing like the heat of elections to raise the popularity of the fabric.

Written by Garima Mishra | Pune | Published:March 29, 2009 3:55 am

Fabric sales register 25 per cent increase everywhere,except Aga Khan Palace

Khadi may be suiting all climes,but nothing like the heat of elections to raise the popularity of the fabric. No wonder that it’s cheer time for the retailers and manufacturers of khadi in the city,as the demand for the fabric has picked up like never before. The sales have gone up nearly 30 per cent in March and are expected to rise by 50 per cent next month.

“The demand for plain white khadi cloth has risen by 30 per cent whereas the sale of readymade khadi kurtas has gone up by 40 per cent. These are figures for the first three weeks of March and by next month they might go up by another 10-15 per cent,” said Sunil Behane,owner of Rashtriya Khadi Bhandar in Budhwar Peth.

Swamy Devdas,proprietor of Gandhi Khadi Bhandar,Kunte Chowk,also feels the sales volume should double at his store in the coming days.

Fabindia zonal head Anuradha Iyer feels the sudden 10-12 per cent raise in the sale of men’s kurta in lighter shades could be attributed to the political climate.

The modest fabric is available across the city in many varieties — khadi silk,khadi wool and khadi cotton. While many types of apparel are manufactured from khadi cotton like saris,salwar suits,shirts,trousers,skirts and so on,khadi cotton items like plain white kurtas,dhotis,shirts and Gandhi topis are topmost in demand during this election time.

Along with the trademark outfit of political workers and leaders,the demand for the national flag has also gone up. Vitthal Hendre,proprietor,Jal Malhar Khadi Bhandar,said,“Orders for flags have already started coming in. By next month,the demand should shoot up by 15 per cent.”

Ironically,the only place in the city that has not seen any added orders for their khadi fabric is the Aga Khan Palace,where Mahatma Gandhi — who had launched khadi as a political weapon — was kept under house arrest in the 1940s and where khadi spinning classes are still conducted.

Ganesh Dhotre,manager of Aga Khan Palace,said,“We have not witnessed any increase in demand. People who come to visit this place are our only customers.”

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