For decades, confectioners in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata have been making sweets, locally known as mishti, to cater to the sweet-obsessed people of West Bengal state.
Amid the ongoing parliamentary elections, some confectioneries in the city have used the occasion to develop some uniquely-designed nirbachoni mishti or poll sweets.
The nirbachoni mishti seems to have added a novel “sweet touch” to the exchange of greetings among politicians and their supporters during the campaigning.
The sweets are specially designed sondesh, another Bengali dessert, with different political party symbols embossed on them.
For example, the Congress party mishti carries a pure-white palm, while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s brightly coloured saffron and green lotus symbol adorns the sweets. The red hammer, sickle and a star representing the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which ruled the state for more than three decades, is also in the race to be confectioner’s choice.
But the mishti sellers say that the most popular sweets are the one bearing the symbol of the ruling Trinamool Congress party – two flowers planted firmly in a patch of grass.
Confectioner Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick (BMRM) has also designed the “Victory Sondesh” with the Bengali phrase “Joyee Hao” or “Be Victorious” iced on the top.
“We make special sweets linking them to many major festivals,” Sudip Mullick, owner of BMRM told Al Jazeera. “With all frenzy surrounding it, this general election is also seen by many as a big national festival. So, we hit upon the idea to launch these nirbachoni mishtis now.”
“Since they are selling well among the supporters of different political parties and even our regular customers, we are happy,” he added.