The flash floods in Uttarakhand turned survivor Anuj Vajpayee into a die-hard Modi supporter.
Shopkeeper Anuj Vajpayee at his Modi tea stall at Lamgondi village.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT)
Vajpayee, in his early 40s, used to click photographs of pilgrims and tourists in Kedarnath valley for a living. But now he devotes his time to his labour of love — a ‘Modi tea stall’.
A native of Lamgondi village in Rudraprayag district, Vajpayee lost seven of his family members in the tragedy last June. “I was stuck in Kedarnath for three days, but I made it. Seven of my family members did not,” says Vajpayee.
“While recovering, I was on bed rest for many days. I saw and heard Narendra Modi on TV, and came to know of the work he has done. That’s when I realised that only a strong person like him can do something for villagers like us.”
The BJP prime ministerial candidate came across as “a ray of hope” to Vajpayee, who was a staunch Congress supporter earlier.
“Modi had said he would restore the Kedarnath valley within two months but he was not given a chance by the Congress-led state government,” Vajpayee says.
“I was disheartened. That’s when I decided to sell Modi tea to earn my livelihood.”
With a little help from his relatives, Vajpayee opened the Modi tea stall on the same day Modi began his Lok Sabha campaign in September 2013.
“I wanted to serve tea in cups and saucers embossed with Modi’s photo, but I do not have the money.”
Now, Vajpayee’s dream is to meet Modi.
“I want serve him my ‘Modi tea’ with my own hands. If I get just a message that Modi is willing to meet me, I will go all the way to Gujarat to meet him.”