Modi rocket, Modi chakri, Modi bomb, Modi phuljhari (sparklers) – firecrackers named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi are selling like hot cakes in Bihar ahead of Diwali as their demand is more than the ones named after former chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar.
"Modi’s name is not only dominating politics, it has become top selling brand for firecrackers ahead of Diwali," said Ramesh Kumar, a shopkeeper at the wholesale market in old Patna.
Like Ramesh, Guddu Ansari, another firecracker seller, said, "Modi magic" is ruling the market.
Though firecrackers named after two other leading politicians of the state Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar are also on sale, those are nowhere in competition with brand Modi. Even crackers named after Lalu’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi are missing from shops this time.
"All items named after Modi are selling briskly. This time demand for firecrackers named after Lalu and Nitish are lagging behind," said Bhola Singh, another shopkeeper here.
Bhola Singh told IANS that crackers named after Modi are the first choice of buyers, more popular than those bearing the names of film stars and cricket players.
"BJP’s leaders, workers and Modi supporters are buying these in large numbers," he said.
With Modi enjoying high popularity ratings, the Modi bomb is doing great business. And so are Modi bullets, Modi sparklers and Modi chakris.
"It is true that crackers named after politicians have been selling in Bihar for years during Diwali, but this time the demand is high thanks to the emergence of Modi as a strong leader and strong PM," said Jawed Alam, another shopkeeper.
"Modi bombs are giving a tough time to Lalu and Nitish bombs in Patna and other towns."
Alam recalled the years when firecrackers of Lalu, Nitish and Rabri brand outsold all others. "Their high sales were the accepted index of their popularity. Now the Modi brand is reigning suprme."
Lalu and Nitish loyalists say the continuing sale of Lalu-Rabri firecrackers is a clear indication that they – Lalu Prasad in particular – remain hugely popular in Bihar although they were routed in the last Lok Sabha polls in May this year.
A few years ago, firecrackers named after then US president George W. Bush and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden did brisk business. Even those sporting the names of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni and tennis player Sania Mirza were in high demand till last year.
Trader Mahesh Prasad Singh said firecrackers worth millions were likely to be sold in the state ahead of Diwali this year.
With next Bihar assembly polls due in 2015, BJP leaders are upbeat over Modi’s popularity in firecracker markets.
"We are confident that Modi is more popular than Lalu and Nitish as it is reflected in markets also," BJP spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha said.
The BJP along with is allies Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party won 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar. Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal won 4, Nitish’s Janata Dal-United won 2, the Congress 2, and Nationalist Congress Party one seat.
(With inputs from IANS)