Patna, Oct 26: They are enemies not only on political front, but on the crackers' front also as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad are 'face to face' in the local crackers market prior to Diwali and the 'Chhath' festival.
Not lagging behind to 'fully exploit' the pre-Lok Sabha election scenario, the fireworks manufacturers here have flooded the market with a new brand of crackers bearing the names and photographs of Mr Kumar and Mr Prasad prior to the festive season. ''The crackers named after Mr Kumar and Mr Prasad are in great demand by all types of buyers as they feel proud in purchasing such items even at a premium,'' a Patna-based wholeseller Sunil Singh said.
''This locality (of the state capital) is the main manufacturing hub of such types of crackers not only in Bihar but also for supply to adjoining Jharkhand, West Bengal and some other states,'' pointed out another whole-seller Shyamji Shao, who admitted that crackers bearing the names and photographs of the Railway Minister and the Chief Minister were the two most sought after items since they hit the market only a couple of days ago.
These crackers were also selling like hot cakes among the young and old alike despite having a comparatively high price tag, said Mr Shao.
"People in Bihar are considered politically sensitive and whatever is manufactured bearing the names of top political leaders of the state take little time to become the most sought after item, bringing cheers to customers as well as to traders in a highly competive market,'' echoed both wholesellers. Interestingly, apart from these two leaders, similar crackers and other types of fireworks like rockets and Phooljharis and 'do domas' bearing the names of Bollywood super-stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Sharukh Khan, Salman Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Kajol and Preity Zinta were also being manufactured in large numbers and sold like hot cakes among the buyers.
The unique idea of selling firecrackers bearing the name of Lalu Prasad first hit the market during the previous RJD regime.
After experiencing a bumper sale of such crackers among the Lalu followers for several years, the manufacturers encouraged to repeat the idea in the Nitish Kumar regime too.
Soon the idea was hijacked by other manufacturers and the market was flooded with new Diwali gifts before becoming a popular 'brand name' in the market, said Jairaj, a festive buff and resident of Patliputra colony in the heart of the state capital.
Coming Lok Sabha election is also acting as a catalyst among the manufacturers to launch similar items as both the ruling and Opposition party workers are losing no time to buy it in bulk and store the same till the 'D day' in respective areas of influence for 'free' distribution among the voters to score a brownie point during the next electoral husting.