On September 8, a function that Patidar businessmen had organised in Surat to felicitate BJP leaders, including Amit Shah, had been disrupted by Hardik Patel’s supporters. When police tried to stop them, they hurled chairs. Akbari, who was earlier a BJP youth wing leader, supplied chairs and tables and set up the ‘mandap’ for the event.
1. Did you suffer much damage in the protest?
We had supplied 15,000 chairs for the Patidar programme. The order was huge so I had approached nine other mandap decorators of Surat to help organise the chairs. Over 500 chairs were broken. We experienced losses to the tune of Rs 10,000.
2. How much do you charge as rent per chair, and have you claimed damage from the event organisers for your losses?
We usually charge between Rs 5 and Rs 7 per chair. There is not much profit margin. So far, we have not claimed any damage. Even our rent payment for the mandap, chairs and tables is pending as the event organisers are busy. Of course, the event organisers will compensate me for the losses.
3. Have you thought of insuring your chairs?
We have not taken any insurance. Does any company give insurance for chairs?
4. Is the demand for chairs high at such rallies?
Yes. The demand is high, especially for political events and particularly during election season. For weddings and party functions, the demand is below 500.
5. At a BJP event in Jasdan after that, the chairs were tied to prevent a repeat of the Surat protest. Was that a good idea?
Yes, I have heard of that. Of course, for event organisers, this is good as no one can lift the chairs if they are tied. But then, those who want to disrupt the event can also cut the strings and lift the chairs.