Mimicking the BJP slogans, second hand cloth sellers in Ludhiana too have started saying “ache din aayenge”. One can see a large number of pherriwalas below the elevated road bridge near clock tower. They earn their living by selling second hand clothes which they collect from houses by exchanging few utensils.
They all hail from different parts of Gujarat but are now settled in Punjab for more than five decades. After the landslide victory of BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha election the pherriwalas have pinned their hopes on the Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi.
Ramesh Kumar, who is also the president of Shiv Shakti Karwar Sewa Dal, said, “We all are from devi poojak vahgri smaj and more than 50,000 of us are living across the State. Our parents had come to Punjab when there was drought in Gujarat and later they started living here. I was born here and today I am 48 years old.”
Kumar said that their families still own land in Gujarat and they often visit their native village twice or thrice every year to take care of their crops.
“We want other backward class(OBC) status and we had taken up the matter with Modiji when he was CM Gujarat, but it seems that it will be possible for him to do something for us now,” Kumar said. “We have hopes that we will be heard at least now. A Gujarati is going to be the PM. So we have all the reasons to cheer about.”
Like Ramesh many others under this bridge sell old clothes for as little as Rs 10- 100, which are often bought by families who cannot afford buying new clothes. A number of them own small houses ranging from 50 square yard to 100 square yard in different parts of the city.
Raju, whose father Gugga Ram came to Ludhiana from Gujarat in late 60s in search of work and food, said “Gujarati families celebrated the day results were announced like we do during Diwali.”
Former BJP leader Banvari, who had been an active party member, said “I had met Modi twice in Ludhiana when he was Punjab affairs in-charge in early 2000, but no one had imagined that he can be a PM one day. Now I remember my short association with him.”
When Modi was Gujarat CM, he had sent Banvari a letter on the occasion of his son’s marriage.
The Gujarati families have been settled in Amritsar, Jalandhar and other parts as well, and all of them are feeling important after the poll results.