For Narendra Modi’s electoral effort, Surat sari traders are again going the whole nine yards.
As the Bihar Assembly polls draw near, the saris sold by these traders in the state are being packed in bags or boxes with Modi or BJP symbols on the cover.
Local MP C R Patil met 100-odd textile traders here Friday to discuss strategies to campaign using the Modi brand in Bihar. It was decided that down to the detail of the tapes on the carton, everything would have a symbol of the BJP or Modi’s name on it. “Next week onwards we will give drinking water bottles in such carry bags to passengers on trains to Bihar from Surat,” Patil said.
Kailash Agarwal, who calls himself a BJP worker and runs the Radhey Radhey sari shop in Raghukul market in Surat, is getting 25,000 bags printed with a picture of the Prime Minister, along with a saffron map of Bihar with the BJP lotus in it and the slogan Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.
Another Surat trader, Rajratanji, has placed an order for another 25,000 bags. “The idea is to draw women to the party,” Agarwal said. “When they take the sari in this bag, they will have Modi on top of their minds.”
Agarwal, who sells 15,000-20,000 saris through 300 wholesellers across districts and major districts in Bihar, admitted the BJP faces a “tough fight” in Bihar, prompting him to use his business ties to campaign for it. He said his bags with Modi’s photo would be “eco-friendly”. “I have got the first lot of 5,000 bags and from tomorrow, I will start sending packed parcels to Bihar.”
It was entirely his initiative, Agarwal added, and he would bear the cost. The cost of his saris ranges from Rs 300-1,500 each. “For eight years, I have been working with wholesellers in Rajasthan and UP. My annual turnover is Rs 50 crore,” he said. “Such initiatives have been lucky, as I have found my business grow.”
The bags are being manufactured at Mirant Plastics in Varachha. Rinesh Patel, who owns the firm, confirmed receiving orders from Agarwal and Rajratanji. “We will finish the bags in the next four days,” Patel said. “Each bag will cost Rs 5.25.”
Ahead of the general elections, Surat traders had sent lakhs of sari boxes with Modi’s photo and the tagline ‘Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar’ to different cities.