| The offices of Bharatiya Janata Party and (above) Janata Dal (United) on Beer Chand Patel Path wear a deserted look. Pictures by Shailendra Kumar |
Patna, Nov. 18: Not long ago, the Beer Chand Patel Path was buzzing with activities and so were the offices of the political parties.
However, as Bihar draws towards the fag end of elections, the road gives a use-me-if-you-can look.
A few days ago, people, most of them ticket-seekers, used to crowd in scores waiting for one kind look of their leaders.
The so-called strongmen used to be there too in their SUVs.
The reporters would move around with mikes and huge satellite vans zooming through, constantly blurting their rehearsed excerpts in front of the camera trying to get the first breaking story.
Now, things have changed. With elections about to end, the road looks nothing like it was earlier. Now, it even appears to be longer because of its emptiness.
As vehicles zip through, all eyes stare at the offices of the political parties.
Some vehicles are still parked, giving a faint reminiscence of the hullabaloo a month before October 21, when Bihar went to polls.
“Nowadays no one comes here. Only a month ago, it used to be teeming with people, some laughing, some angry, some protesting. Now, it is all gone,” said Raju Kumar, who mends bicycles at a corner on the road.
A few days back, Beer Chand Patel Path was stocked with campaign material relevant for all parties.
Satyendra, a shop owner, said: “Elections for us are like festival season. Once it’s over there is sadness and a sinking feeling. Business used to be at an all-time high.”
Ram Naresh Pandit, a tea seller, who did brisk business in front of the JD (U) office earlier, looked a bit sad too.
“Sales have dipped. It was peak time for my business two months back. But it is not that I am not getting customers but it is not what it used to be. I miss that time,” he said.
Even tailors, ahead of the elections, were doing brisk business.
The tailoring shops near the MLA flats on Beer Chand Patel road were flooded with orders from politicians lined up to get their kurta-pyjamas stitched.
However, for some, the sudden calm was always welcome. “I love the silence. Moving on the road had become difficult because cars used to move all the time on this road. It is complete silence now and I love it,” said Karma, a rickshaw puller.
For the daily commuters, election getting over is kind of a dampener to the environment it had created for a month.
“Though the roads were chock-a-block, it was quite interesting to see the din. Many a times, I even managed to appear on television with the camera pointing at me. I also saw Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. I must say it was interesting,” said Laxmikant Kumar, a student.
People who loved the chaos believe that the silence is momentary and it would return if no party manages a complete majority in the ongoing elections.
Some are optimistic that the silence would prevail till the next elections. Whatever be it, it could be a wait for five years or a wait for just 10 days.