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Century-old tea stall brews poll gossips

india Updated: Mar 21, 2014 00:44 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times
Lok Sabha elections


The quintessential Benarasi loves sipping tea at Pappu Ki Adi. For, spiced with local wisdom, the cuppa cheer is served here with politics.

Ever since it opened at Assi Ghat a century ago, Pappu’s has been one of the city’s prime ‘arhebaazi’ (idle talk) spots every day from 6am to midnight. Friends and strangers gather to discuss everything under the sun, air opinions and argue. If things tend to turn ugly, the ‘benign bouncers’ – elderly regulars – take control.

Teachers and students, employed and jobless, old and young, rightists and leftists, radicals and liberals – all hang about Pappu’s for an earthen cupful at specified time of the day. They bump into each other on special occasions, such as Lok Sabha polls. Pre-poll analysis and poll predictions made at Pappu’s have rarely gone off the mark. So if one has to feel the political pulse of Varanasi and beyond, it is the place to be in.

The discussions often revolve around NDA’s probability of forming the government and Narendra Modi’s chances of becoming the prime minister. Modi, is the BJP’s candidate from Varanasi and challenging him is Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

“Modi wave may not help NDA form the government,” said professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra.

His view is fuel for Congress supporters. “Modi wave will meet the same fate as BJP’s India Shining campaign in 2004,” compatriot Arun Singh said.

Local Ramanand Rai heats up the argument, saying Kejriwal would be the game-changer.