Anna Hazare tops rakhi charts in Bihar
Patna, Aug 12 (IANS) If the sale of rakhis is anything to go by, social activist Anna Hazare should be topping the popularity charts in Bihar - ahead of even cricket star Mahendra Singh Dhoni!
A day ahead of Raksha Bandhan, rakhis sporting the face of the 74-year-old Gandhian or named after him are doing brisk business across the state.
And those dedicated to political heroes like Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or his rival Lalu Prasad are lagging behind.
Clearly, the activist, whose fast unto death for an anti-corruption Lokpal bill in April had fired the imagination of many thousands and who embarks on another hunger strike Aug 16, has touched a chord.
'Rakhis named after Anna are selling briskly,' said Guddu Singh, a shopkeeper at the wholesale market in Old Patna city.
He said it was the first preference for people. 'Anna has a clear edge over Nitish and Lalu in the rakhi market,' he said.
Agreed Surender Kumar, another shopkeeper: 'The demand for rakhis with a picture of Anna is high among all, including girls, youth and children.'
Till last year, said Mohammed Hashib, Nitish Kumar and Lalu reigned.
'The rakhis are in huge demand. Even those who do not purchase these rakhis want to have a look at them.'
Interestingly, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh don't really figure in the rakhi markets.
According to theatre activist Aneesh Ankur, Anna Hazare had become a hero figure amongst the people.
This should be good news for the Gandhian, who has rejected the government version of the Lokpal bill as inadequate and reiterated his decision to sit on an indefinite fast from Aug 16 in New Delhi.