First it was the Lalu dolls. Then Lalu chocolates, Lalu fodder and Lalu cosmetics flooded the Bihar markets. And now with Rakhi round the corner it is no surprise that Lalu rakhis have inundated this state.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, India's most colourful politician, may have been voted out of power in Bihar but there seems to be no end to the electorate's love story with Brand Lalu.
If the sales of the rakhis are any indication, the railway minister's popularity is indeed immense.
Ashok Kumar Singh, a shopkeeper in Baripath, beams, "Lalu rakhis are the latest craze among girls." Another shopkeeper in Lodipur near Golghar, Guddu Mahto, is on a high. "The demand for Lalu rakhis is immense. A lot of young girls have taken a fancy to Lalu rakhis," he says.
In Patna alone there are several makeshift stalls that sell Lalu rakhis exclusively. "The rakhis are in huge demand. Even those who do not purchase these rakhis want to have a look at the Lalu rakhi," remarks another rakhi seller.
This is not the first time the Lalu brand has been used to spin money. A few months ago Lalu chocolates, launched in the rural pockets of north Bihar, had many takers. The chocolate - Lalu ka Khazana - manufactured by a Delhi-based company was launched about five months ago. Shopkeepers say the children just love the chocolates.
There are also three types of animal feed which are sold under the brand name Lalu Pashu Aahar. There's more. A low priced cosmetic product - Lalu Chale Sasural - is also doing brisk business in the rural areas.
Cadres of Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are happy with the success of the products, because it is indicative of the Bihar strongman's popularity.