Former Assembly Speaker CP Singh inaugurates the tea stall at Patel Chowk in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Oct. 8: Any argumentative Indian knows the link between sipping tea and talking politics.
Following in the footsteps of Patna, Ranchi got its first NaMo NaMo tea stall near the station on Tuesday. Having the Hindi initials of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, it is a unique solidarity campaign.
Former Assembly Speaker and Ranchi MLA C.P. Singh christened the tea stall around noon in the presence of BJP workers committed to see “NaMo” as India’s next prime minister.
The tea stall, a hand pushcart beside a Hanuman temple under a peepal tree at Patel Chowk near the station, is well known since 2005.
Passengers from different parts of the country and state alight at the station and reach here to board autorickshaws for Kanta Toli or other parts of the capital.
While waiting, many have tea, pass the time of the day and chat. Politics figure high among the topics of conversation. Tea stall owner Vinay Sharma (35), who stays at Amravati Colony behind the station, said he was happy he had something in common with the country’s prime ministerial candidate.
“I was told Narendra Modiji also sold tea in his childhood. I am selling tea for the past eight years but had never named my stall. It’s a privilege to call my tea stall NaMo after Narendraji. It gives me immense pleasure thinking a tea seller can become the country’s prime minister,” he said.
In a biography by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, “The anatomy of Narendra Modi — the man and his politics” — it was revealed how six-year-old Modi helped his father sell tea to passengers at the small Vadnagar station in Gujarat.
To highlight Modi’s humble origins, the BJP in Bihar has started naming tea stalls NaMo. Modi is supposed to visit Patna for his hoonkar (roar) rally on October 27.
For those sceptical about the christening concept, ask Ranchi tea vendor Sharma how it helps. “It is all about giving respect,” he says.
On the pressing issues before the Lok Sabha 2014 polls, Sharma said: “I am a simple man. I earn enough to run my 16-member family, including my old parents, wife, four children, five brothers and three sisters-in-law. I do it without taking help from others. That’s all I need.”
Washerman Surendra Rajak, who has a kiosk near Sharma’s tea stall, endorsed the quality of his piping hot beverage. “Sharma sells a glass of tea for Rs 5. The quality of his tea is so good that people throng to have it. He must be selling 200 glasses a day,” he said.