The season of party hopping has helped florists make money like never before.
“It isn’t that my flower business goes down at any point of time in the year. Be it celebrations like weddings, anniversaries and others, people need flowers. Only recently there was the lagaan or the auspicious marriage time and it was brisk business for me and my other companions too. Flower shops here always do good business, as it is located near Mahavir Sthaan temple, which witnesses hoards of devotees everyday. However, with the election notification and subsequent party hopping, our sale has gone up manifold,” Vinod Kumar Malakar said.
Last year, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who now has sided with the NDA, was gifted a 100kg garland in Hajipur. The garland was made by none other than the 38-year-old florist, who has his shop at the swarming Patna Junction area. Vinod needed an earth-moving vehicle to load the garland on a truck.
This spring, Vinod looks happier with garland orders from different political parties go on unabated. “Flowers play a very important part in a leader’s life. A leader leaving the party and joining the other needs to be welcomed with garlands and bouquets. Only the day before yesterday, the supporters of Lesi Singh, who was made a minister by Nitish, had ordered a 51kg garland for her. I gladly delivered the order on time. My experience says orders will flow from all parties as the elections get near,” said Vinod, who is in this business for 25 years.
He also found out a change in the trend of garlands. “Genda or marigold garlands have been traditionally the most favourite among politicians. However, a little change has been noticed with many of them are shifting to flowers like rose and rajnigandha (tuberose). When it comes to the Congress, they want to look like pure nationalists and patriots. Being the oldest party, their garlands too tend to have the tiranga or the Tricolour look. I remember making a garland once for them which was designed like the Tricolour with marigold, white tuberose and fine green leaves. For the BJP, orange rules the garlands with marigold. However, they too are shifting to garlands of roses and other flowers. The RJD generally does not have any special choice and they are content with marigold. So, marigold still rules the heart of the leaders but roses and other flowers too are making an entry. The marigold is preferred mainly because of its strength and durability,” Vinod said.
Bihari Bhagat, another flower-seller in the same area, said: “The price of garlands has also gone up. At present, a 100kg garland costs anything between Rs 10,000 and Rs 13,000. A garland weighing more than 50kg will cost between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000. Bouquets are costlier and they can come at anything between Rs 200 and Rs 5,000 or even more,” he said.
The flowers mainly come to Patna from Calcutta everyday.
More than 20,000 pieces of rose, 15,000-20,000 marigold, some 2,000 pieces of tuberose come to Patna everyday. “This place is the main wholesale market. Nowadays, there are some flowers like gerbera, which come from places like Nashik and Pune too. For the Narendra Modi rally in Muzaffarpur recently, the BJP bought 200kg of marigold from us and took it to the venue. While we always welcome the elections or any political event, we prefer selling flowers to devotees more. The flowers offered to gods have devotion and trust. In case of the netas, the same cannot be said,” Malakar said.