| The NaMo tea stall on Boring Canal Road. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Want tea, head for NaMo.
The state BJP has planned to christen around 400 tea stalls in Patna as “NaMo tea stalls” ahead of this month’s Hunkar Rally. Twenty-two tea stalls have been renamed in areas, including Mandiri, Boring Canal Road, Fraser Road and Ashok Rajpath.
Bankipore MLA, and the think tank behind the BJP’s move, Nitin Navin said: “We have not opened any new stalls. With the vendors’ permission, we are only naming them ‘NaMo tea stalls’, associating the tea vendor with the BJP, Narendra Modi’s life story as well as his plans for the country when he becomes the Prime Minister.”
The banners at the stalls reads “Can a tea vendor become Prime Minister? If yes, then come to Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on October 27”. That is when the Gujarat chief minister and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will address his first rally in the state — Hunkar Rally — after the JD(U)-BJP break-up.
Navin said the idea behind renaming the stalls was to promote and popularise the ideas of the Gujarat chief minister. These are after all centres of political discussion among all sections of society. The Telegraph also found four people discussing Modi at a stall in the Mandiri area.
Pawan Kumar, a small-time trader and a Narendra Modi supporter, said: “He has a good chance of becoming the Prime Minister. During the UPA regime, corruption is at an all-time high and prices of essential commodities have gone up.”
He found support in two people sipping on their tea, while Shankar Prasad Yadav, a resident of Mandiri, sought to disagree.
Yadav said: “Modi is not PM material as he will be never accepted by a section of society (read the minority community). His popularity is a media hype and does not reflect on the ground.”
The Telegraph asked MLA Navin if the christening drive would extend to the tea stall opposite 1 Aney Marg. He said: “As of now, we do not have plans to rename the tea stall opposite the chief minister’s residence. We fear if it is done, the JD(U) workers might remove or destroy the stall. But, we are planning to christen the stalls near the New Secretariat.”
Narendra Modi, a three-time chief minister, has had a meteoric rise since the time he sold tea as a boy at a railway station in Vadnagar, Gujarat. Sources said the party was cashing in on Modi’s humble roots to woo voters in Bihar with its sizeable population of backward caste voters.
The residents, Narendra Modi supporters or not, accepted the BJP’s move to market the Gujarat chief minister.
Sanjay Singh, a resident having tea at a Boring Canal Road stall, said: “I don’t see anything wrong with the BJP’s efforts to popularise Modi. Jo dikhta hain, wohi bikta hain (what is seen is what sells).”
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