Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

As Modi gets set to tea off today, vendors pin hopes on him for sale

NaMo mug is an eye-catcher at a shop in Vadodara’s Mangal Bazar. (Bhupendra Rana) NaMo mug is an eye-catcher at a shop in Vadodara’s Mangal Bazar. (Bhupendra Rana)
Express News Service | Posted: February 12, 2014 4:39 am

Today, Chief Minister Narendra Modi will connect with people hanging out at handpicked tea stalls for the first of the ‘Chai pe Charcha’ sessions, organised by Citizens for Accountable Governance at 69 locations in 22 cities from 5-8 pm. The Indian Express team caught up with some of these tea vendors who will host the even.

VADODARA
Manish Shedke’s Om Sai Tea and Breakfast, TP-13

Manish Shedke, whose Tea and Breakfast stall will be the centre of attraction on Wednesday, has been in the business for the last four years, supporting his family of four. He started out as a breakfast place and only recently started selling tea. “The response has been overwhelming,” he says.

Shedke’s tea stall was selected by the volunteers of CAG around a month ago  for the space that it offers to host the programme. “I have not been much into politics. I do not know why they selected my stall for the function, but this will make it popular,” Shedke says. Shedke did not know that Modi was once a tea vendor. Originally a resident of Ramnagar in Maharashtra, Shedke migrated with his family of four over two decades back.

Kanchanlal, GIDC Road

Kanchanlal, 60, has been running the stall for 18 years. Apart from putting up a “Chai pe charcha – Namo ke saath” poster, Kanchanlal has also been handed over a “Modi for PM fund” bank, in which generous clients are donating “funds” for the party. “I have been told that I have to make tea and serve 250 people together, who will come to my location. These are supposed to be BJP workers,” he says. Kanchanlal says he was apprehensive about the whole programme as the other tea stall owners have been removed from the road. “I was actually taking off my stall too to avoid damage by the corporation, but the BJP workers said my name has been registered in the list and so no one can touch my stall. Thus, I stayed.” Kanchanlal says he is a Modi loyalist and has been following Modi’s political career ever since he joined politics. “I know Modi has been a tea vendor as I have read about him since his days in the RSS. Tomorrow, they will give me a “Modi for PM” cap  and I will wear it while making the tea,” he says.

Gopal Sharma’s Ambassador Tea Stall, Chhani

Gopal Sharma’s Ambassador Tea Stall is a famous hangout zone for cutting chai. A native of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, Sharma is firmly into the RSS and has been going to its shakhas since he was 11-years-old. He started his stall in 1987, nearly three years after landing in Gujarat. Over the years, as the stall gained popularity and his business grew, he involved all his three sons in the business, continued…

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