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Food vendors make hay at Rahul’s rally

By Sarwar Kashani, IANS,

Aligarh : The owner of Lucky Tea Stall was indeed feeling lucky. Naresh Chand Gupta said he had not slept at night because of the “rush of people” at the venue for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s rally here Saturday.

“I have never done such huge business in the eight years of selling tea here. Aligarh is not usually known for rallies,” Gupta, in his late 40s, told IANS.

Selling chaat, fried snacks, fruits, sweetmeats, nimbu-paani, tea and water, street food vendors did brisk business at Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Exhibition Ground. Scores of makeshift food stalls have come up. And even heavy rain did not deter the food vendors.

Gupta, who otherwise sells tea on the main road leading to the sprawling ground, had Friday shifted his hand cart near the venue along with his kerosene stove, cups and pots and pans.

About his earnings even before the rally could start, he said, “It is certainly more than five times my regular amount.”

It poured so heavily that some stalls nearly collapsed, but the vendors put up with it, as they were making more money than usual on the rainy day.

Pinky, who prepares the tea at Gupta’s stall, said. “Bhai, I am working 10 times harder than on a usual day. My master has not allowed me to sleep since last night,” he said, though smilingly.

Kishore Chand, who sells fruit, claimed some 100 people bought bananas from him, each costing Rs.5 – more than the usual price.

Some people came attracted by the food even before Rahul Gandhi – whose five-day padyatra through the villages of Uttar Pradesh culminates here Saturday – could begin the kisan mahapanchayat.

When Noor Bano, a local resident, saw mouth watering hot pakoras selling at a stall teeming with people, she could not help herself. Bano and her daughter gulped down the snack, which was served Indian style in leaf-made plates.

Amid humid conditions, cold water and other beverages were the most sought after.

So beverage vendor Suhail Akram had made a cool Rs.2,000 by Friday afternoon, selling jaljeera, nimbu-paani and water in polythene packs.

They all made hay – never mind if it rained.