Bihar leaders beat the heat with juices and sherbets (Election Special)

Patna, April 10: Bihar leaders are sipping an array of local sherbets and juices to stay cool as the mercury soars. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar likes to have sattu sherbet while RJD leader Lalu Prasad prefers bael juice.

Star political campaigners have turned to traditional coolers like ‘amjhoura’ (mango juice mixed with salt and powder of roasted jeera), ‘bael sherbet’ (wood apple juice) and sattu sherbet (ground gram juice), sugarcane juice and chacch (a curd drink) or lassi to fight the heat.

However, some local leaders and workers of RJD, Janata Dal (United) and the BJP in rural Bihar favour toddy, a natural drink of palm tree that is considered the poor man’s beer.

Neither Nitish nor Lalu are taking branded cold drinks during the campaign period.

“Nitish Kumar is taking traditional home made drinks of mango, wood apple or ground gram during his hectic campaign,” said a JD-U leader considered close to him.

Lalu is known for his love for ground gram juice and wood apple juice.

“Laluji is also drinking lots of water,” a RJD leader said.

BJP’s Sushil Modi is also taking sugarcane juice to beat the heat.

All three – Nitish, Lalu and Modi, who are in their mid-60s – are taking vegetarian and simple food like two chapatis, dal, curd, and green vegetables.

Lalu, who is known for his love for non-vegetarian food like mutton and small fish, is keeping away from them till electioneering lasts, another RJD leader said.

“We are taking amjhoura, sattu and bael sherbet to keep fresh during the hot summer days,” said Bagi Kumar Verma, RJD candidate from the Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency.

Jitan Ram Manjhi, Bihar SC/ST welfare minister and JD-U candidate from the Gaya parliamentary constituency, said that he is drinking sattu sherbet and amjhoura.

With temperature hovering over 40 degrees Celsius, the weatherman predicts heat wave-like condition during the April 10 to May 12 stretch when six-phased Lok Sabha polls will be held in the state for 40 seats.

For generations, people in Bihar have used these traditional drinks to quench their thirst and keep at bay the intense summer heat. In markets across Bihar, the drinks are available for as little as Rs.5 to Rs.10 a glass.

The hot weather in coming days may impact the turnout.

A.K. Sen, director, India Meteorology Department, said there will be hot, humid and sultry weather conditions during the polling in the state.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in)

IANS