Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 15:
With barely hours to go for D Day, preparations for celebrations – by parties and candidates – have begun in right earnest throughout the nook and corner of Odisha.
Advances have already been given for flowers, crackers and music bands and hefty orders placed with the neighbourhood sweetmeat shop.
Party workers have got the bikes and open jeeps too, completely oblivious of the weatherman’s prediction that May 16 could record the season’s highest temperature at several places, including the capital city.
Cocking a snook at the sun beating down relentlessly, they are busy giving finishing touches to their dance steps. On their part, the candidates sure of winning are practicing how to balance themselves on the shoulders of supporters as they are carried around like a trophy.
As with every other celebration in India, flowers are in great demand. Flower sellers have already imported huge quantities of flowers, especially marigold, and are busy preparing garlands that will adorn the necks of the wining candidates and their supporters, besides the open vehicle they ride on.
“Keeping in view the heavy demand, we have already imported flowers from Kolkata Since the candidates and supporters are ready to pay any amount, we are desperately waiting for the result day to do some good business,” said Santosh Samal, a flower shop owner in Bhubaneswar.
Flower traders confide that they are planning to jack up prices if the demand is more. “After all, this is a seasonal business. Moreover, party workers are ready to shell out any amount to appease their leaders. So, why should we not charge a little extra?” they reason.
Sweet makers have started preparing a wide range of made-to-order sweets, many of them with symbols of the parties emblazoned on them. But it is the good old laddu that is the flavour of the season.
“Next to Diwali, election season is the high time to make some quick money. We are working all night to meet our orders. The leaders, who are confident of winning after seeing the exit polls predictions, have already placed their order. We expect business to go even further up after the results are announced,” said Rajiv Mohanty, a fire cracker vendor from Jatani.
Notably, Jatani is the epicentre of fire crackers manufacturing.
The fire cracker manufactures have also named some crackers after leaders. While the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is the clear front runner, other leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Naveen Patnaik are ready to ‘burst’ as well.
“We had started out preparations for celebration immediately after the exit polls results were shown on TV. We have placed order for sweets, garlands and fire crackers on May 16. Result day will be all Masti and Dhamal for us,” said Sarat Sahu, a supporter of the ruling BJD.
Not every candidate is in celebratory mood though – at least not yet. There are many who are hedging their bets and playing it safe in an effort to ensure that they don’t cut a sorry figure after the results are out and they lose.
“Since the position of our candidate is very tight and we expect a neck and neck fight, we have decided not to go for purchase of any item. Once the counting is over and he emerges winner, we will start buying garlands to felicitate him,” said Ravi Choudhury.