Just days after RJD chief Lalu Prasad made a startling revelation that he was a tea seller in his struggler days of childhood, to counter BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi’s humble beginnings, Prasad’s party cadres have set in motion a new plan to run ‘Lalu tea stalls’ across the state.
If that sounds like a copycat version of Modi’s ‘Chai pe charcha’ campaign (discussion over tea), the RJD brass say, opening Lalu tea stalls is an ‘innovative idea’.
“We want to call Modi’s bluff that he sold tea at railway stations. What we know, is that Modi ‘s father ran a canteen and the former used to serve tea in trains, just to travel ticketless. It’s Lalu, who sold tea as a student to eke out a living in his early days,” claimed Iqbal Shami, RJD spokesperson in Muzaffarpur.
On Thursday, the first Lalu Chai stall came up at Muzaffarpur zero mile in Ahiapur locality at the trijunction from where roads lead off to Mithilanchal, Champarans and Samastipur.
RJD workers serving tea to people at Muzaffarpur (Kumar Uttam/HT)
“The target is to serve tea and crispy biscuits to 1,000 people each day so that the party could connect with electorate of 21 assembly segments in north Bihar, the area where RJD has a traditional base. If BJP serves hot tea, we have biscuits to boot,” added Shami. “We will open 17 such stalls in each block of the district. Today, we used 100 litres of milk to prepare tea,” added another leader.
RJD state vice president Harendra Kumar had another logic: “People from over seven districts in north Bihar travel through this road. This is the best place to connect”.
He said, the campaign would run in Muzaffarpur till Modi’s rally on March 3 when the RJD too has planned a big meeting at the same venue, though the administration is yet to allot him grounds.
If that looks like a perfect setting for a BJP vs RJD face off, the brass of the saffron outfit was unimpressed.
“The RJD has always been bereft of original ideas and it has proved it again. Lalu chai ke dukaan is a copy of our campaign,” said state president of the BJP, Mangal Pandey.
“Nobody can match Modi’s popularity and his innovative ideas. RJD’s is doing such things just for cheap publicity,” he added.
Truly, the hot Chai has not only stirred a political storm but also put to test both Modi and Lalu’s brand popularity in the backwaters of the state, this election season.