Candidates in the Lok Sabha election fray have begun enticing voters and campaigners with a host of incentives, albeit under wraps. While biryani and liquor have long been the staple, ice gola and sugarcane juice are also being served to beat the scorching heat, said sources. However, the movement of liquor of any kind is limited this time, they added.
Be it entertaining vote getters with expensive Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) or inspiring rural voters to exercise their right with country liquor, party workers have faced a tough time procuring it this election.
“With BJP’s PM nominee Narendra Modi flying in and out of Gandhinagar to campaign, there has been strict vigil on illegal activity along routes he takes to and from the airport. So, all the hooch breweries located in and around Sardarnagar have shut shop as also in Gomtipur. This has impacted the movement of liquor used by candidates to lure voters,” explained a source.
Nearly 70% of hooch production is hence at a standstill, he added. To compensate, hooch is being brought from North Gujarat and Rajasthan in sacks in transport buses and distributed through local bootleggers in Gandhinagar, Dehgam, Mansa, Bavla, Bagodara-Limdi stretch and Mehsana.
IMFL, meanwhile, is being brought in from neighbouring Rajasthan. It is not being stocked at a single place but cleverly re-routed to various places where the party is hosting its guests — three to four local representatives of communities or villages — who can promise votes in a party’s favour, said another source.
Such dos are hosted at farmhouses and garden restaurants in Sanand, Kalol, Chiloda, Rancharda and Kadi among others.
Over half-a-dozen eateries in Juhapura have been booked to produce their finest tawa items as parties prepare to find their way to the voters’ hearts through their stomachs. Similarly, to cater to such minority community workers and representatives, each of whom can make a difference of hundreds of votes, at least three eateries at Bhatiar Galli (Teen Darwaja) have also been pre-booked. As these eateries operate well into the night, they can provide and deliver food as and when needed.
Again, biryani has been prepared in huge quantities in several localities, including Danilimda, Narol and Barrel Market. It will be served to potential voters in nearby areas, said sources, adding that candidates have planned to attract voters with chapdi undhiyun, thepla and raita in Naroda and Nikol.
Tea stalls have also been set up near party offices across the city to keep workers’ energies high, said sources. And, to beat the heat, sugarcane juice, too, has been arranged for them.
Naranpura, Sabarmati, Chandkheda and other nearby areas are witnessing micro-level campaigning, where party workers are serving bataka poha to flats and small residential societies, added sources.
Chandkheda residents have been served ice golas, too.
Local representatives are even being given mobile balance recharges to aid their logistical voter management. Recharges ranging from Rs25 to Rs100 per phone have been given so far to ensure that these reps always stay connected. A source said that over 500 jeeps, mini-buses and others would be deployed in various parts of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and villages on the outskirts to ferry voters to polling stations. Plus, there are plans to reward vote getters. Candidates have even promised workers, succeeding in bringing targeted voters to booths, with heavily discounted trips to summer destinations like Somnath, Diu and Goa.