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Bye bye khadi, time to flaunt brands

- Traditional outfits of politicians make way for fashion statements on campaign trails

Salwar suit versus cotton sari.

Shirt-trouser versus kurta-pyjama.

Silk waistcoats versus Jawahar coats.

Branded shades versus black umbrellas.

The list of new-versus-old fashion statements of Lok Sabha candidates could be endless with khadi taking a back seat this season.

Breaking the monotony of the conventional political attire, most star candidates in Patna can be seen wearing shirts-trousers or salwar-kurta although seasoned leaders like Ram Kripal Yadav and Ranjan Yadav still prefer to follow the old school.

By and far, the most significant parameters based on which they are choosing their outfit are their professional background.

For instance, actors-turned-politicians Shatrughan Sinha and Kunal Singh are sporting their distinct styles on the campaign trail. Leading the new-age dress code, Shatrughan has hit the streets with clean-shaven handsome looks, shirts and trousers and a waistcoat on top. Dark shades are must for him and his shoes are most shiny black leather.

Next in the league is Bhojpuri actor Kunal. The Congress nominee from Patna Sahib believes that mere wearing khadi kurta — championed by leaders of his party over decades — does not qualify a person to be a politician. “I don’t believe in the traditional kurta-pyjama just for the sake of publicity. I want to look like a common man. I mostly wear shirts and T-shirts over trousers, which are made by some selected tailors in Patna. Most of my shirts are readymade but I am not very brand conscious also,” said Kunal, who, like Shatrughan, flaunts Ray-Ban glasses but has no wristwatch. “I use my cellphone for time,” he said.

At 74, Gopal Prasad Sinha, a renowned neurologist and JD(U) candidate from Patna Sahib, prefers the same formal outfit, which he wore during the past 40 years. “I mostly wear readymade terricot trousers and cotton shirts. I prefer formal clothing,” said Gopal, who uses a Rolex wristwatch but no shades.

Parveen Amanullah, the Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Patna Sahib, is comfortable in cotton salwar suits bought from leading apparel stores in the city coupled with Adidas sneakers. “I mostly wear plain cotton suits, which I mostly buy from an outlet in P&M Mall,” said Parveen.

Like Parveen, Misa Bharti, who is making her political debut as the RJD candidate from Pataliputra, likes her cotton salwar-kurta and leather chappals. Husband Shailesh Kumar said she gets her salwar-kurtas customised from a few selected boutiques in Patna and New Delhi as well. “Misa has several sunglasses but she does not put them on during campaigns, as it obstructs eye-contact with the electors. Moreover, she does not wear a wristwatch but uses Samsung Galaxy S4 to see time,” said Shailesh.

The poll veterans, however, have a different take on the whole issue. “Politicians here are still identified with kurta-pyjama. I was used to shirts and trousers but I have changed to only kurta-pyjama for quite some time,” said Ranjan Yadav, JD(U) candidate, Pataliputra.