In the countryside in Uttar Pradesh, women like to dress-up for the occasion when they vote. Nothing ostentatious but a new sari is somewhat of a must-wear for many in the state's villages on polling day and Jaunpur, which is around 250 km from Lucknow, is no exception. Cashing in on this trend is a group of boys — some in school, a few in college — who are busy selling saris village-to-village and door-to-door.
And if the sari sale is an indicator, Jaunpur is likely to see a good turnout of women voters.
"Our saris are selling like hot cakes. It is our pocket-money job in the poll season," said Mohammed Zafar, 17, a Class 12 student.
Zafar and his friends—Mohammed Sajid, Kunal Kashyap or Vishal Kashyap—hop on to a motor-carrier every morning in the Gaura Badshahpur area of Jaunpur town and set out to do the rounds of the villages. To help prospective buyers with their purchases, these innovative salesmen double up as mannequins, draping all nine yards over their jeans and T-shirts.
All the saris that these boys sell have a flat rate of Rs 75 each. "We sell up to 100 saris a day. Women flock to our gaadi (the mobile sari shop)," revealed Vishal Kashyap. A loudhailer fitted onto the 'gaadi' draws women to it.