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Khadi cool

The coming general elections are proving to be a boon for the time-tested Indian fabric — khadi.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2009, 18:56 IST
Namya Sinha and Rajesh Ahuja
Namya Sinha and Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times

The coming general elections are proving to be a boon for the time-tested Indian fabric — khadi. At a time when recession is crippling other businesses, the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaught Place is seeing a healthy rise in sales.

The crisp white khadi kurta-pajama, which defines the Indian politician, is the favoured attire of candidates and party workers, especially with endorsements from the attractive young faces of politics like Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Nathu Lal, manager of the Khadi store in CP tells us, “Sale of the white khadi cloth is expected to increase by 25 per cent after Holi, when preparations for the elections start in earnest.”

Other than the government-owned Khadi Gramodyog stores, it’s happy days in other khadi stores, too. Priyanka Chaturvedi, operations head of Khadiline at Janpath, says, “Sales are rising not only for white khadi, but khadi cloth in other colours, too. The period around Gandhi Jayanti is the time for the highest demand for khadi because of the rebate. After that, it’s the election season that gives us the most business.”

Party workers who want the head-to-toe Indian look spread out across town to find the best kolhapuri slippers or mojaris. Sanjay Kumar, an election volunteer for Congress, says, “Mojaris work best in peak summer. But everyone is buying a pair now to score a poll goal. I just got myself two pairs in beige and chocolate to last the elections.”

Raju Singh, a shoe shop owner at Sarojini Nagar, confirms the rise in the sale of what he calls the “neta chappals”. “The Kolhapuris are flying off the rack,” he says. “The election campaign is doing a great deal of good to my trade. I sell around 20 pairs a day.” That’s some ‘feet’.

Style update
— NS

Young politicians wear the staple khadi with a twist.

Rahul Gandhi combines his khadi kurta-pajama with a sleeveless black jacket. He wears them with quirky shoes or floaters.
On a recent visit to a school, he wore his khadi uniform with golden sports shoes.

Jyotiraditya Scindia makes political appearances wearing well-cut khadi bandhgalas.

Omar Abdullah wears khadi not only in white but in other colours, too.

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