Kites with Modi and Rahul faces do soaring business in Jharkhand

Makar Sankranti tradition gets a twist in run up to general elections and rivals 'clash' in the skies

By Animesh Bisoee in Ranchi
  • Published 12.01.19, 12:05 AM
  • Updated 12.01.19, 12:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
A kid checks out a kite with faces of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress national president Rahul Gandhi at a shop at Karbala Chowk in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

NaMo or RaGa, who’s ruling the airwaves, literally? Traditional kite fighting is set to get a full-throttle political spin this Makar Sankranti in poll-bound 2019.

Kites with the faces of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress national president Rahul Gandhi are doing soaring business in the BJP-ruled Jharkhand. On most kites, ‘takkar (face-off)’ is boldly emblazoned beneath the faces of the leaders. Battle-lines will be clearly drawn on the skies on January 14. But, in the absence of solo Rahul Gandhi kites, dramatic sparring between NaMo and RaGa kites will be missed.

Md Talib, owner of Talib Patang House, the one-point wholesale kite store for Ranchi retailers at Karbala Chowk, said these kites were procured mostly from Ahmedabad and Calcutta and a few from Bareilly.

“Popular demand decides the look of kites every year,” he said. “This year, social organisations, educational institutions and political parties want kites showcasing the challenge between the two leaders (Modi and Rahul),” he said. “This apart, BJP leaders have placed orders in thousands for kites featuring PM Modi alone. To the best of my knowledge, there are no solo Rahul Gandhi kites yet.”

Asked for numbers, the kite dealer for about four decades said, “So far, we received orders for over 20,000 kites featuring Modiji alone. This apart, there are orders of over 15,000 kites featuring both leaders. The kites, made with PVC lightweight paper, are priced between Rs 3.50 and Rs 300 depending on size.”

Why the word takkar? “That’s the mood. Combative,” Talib smiled.

A Class VII student too young to vote but old enough to fly a kite, said he would fly a takkar kite this Sankranti. “We watch both on TV. Elders are talking about both,” said schoolboy Ashok Sinha, son of Lalpur resident and bank employee Manoj Sinha, explaining his choice with gusto.

Sanjay Jaiswal, a Ranchi-based senior BJP leader, said Modi was flying way higher than Rahul.

“We know kites featuring Modiji and Rahul Gandhi are selling as there are two main political parties. But, Modiji has no competition.” He added that their senior party leader Sanjay Seth had given bulk orders for Modi kites that would be flown at Morabadi grounds on January 14.

Congress state spokesperson Lal Kishore Nath Shahdeo ruled out plans of ordering Rahul Gandhi kites. “We don’t attach political ambitions with religious functions. We believe serious issues raised by our leader Rahul Gandhi are gaining popularity among people and will pay dividends during elections,” Shahdeo said.