Star campaigners are eating light vegetarian food and sipping an array of local sherbets and juices to stay cool, fresh and full of energy to sweat it out in the open to address a series of rallies for the Bihar assembly polls.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar prefers a light breakfast like his ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, before leaving for campaigning from their official residences in the morning.
“Saheb is taking chuda-dahi in breakfast and love to have sattu sherbet and, sometimes, lemon juice” a Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader close to Nitish Kumar told IANS.
Lalu Prasad also prefers a light breakfast with juice.
Both are star campaigners of the JD-U-RJD-Congress grand alliance.
According to their staff, they love traditional vegetarian food, sattu sherbet (ground gram juice), sugarcane juice and chacch (a curd drink) during the election campaign. They also drink a lot of water.
“Nitish Kumar has been addressing five to six rallies every day and is ready to address again the next day, and so is Lalu Prasad,” JD-U leader Nawal Sharma said.
RJD leader Chandeshwar Prasad Singh said though Lalu Prasad had major heart surgeries in 2014, he is as energetic as in the past. “Laluji is addressing six to seven rallies every day,” he said.
Neither Nitish Kumar nor Lalu Prasad eat restaurant food during the campaign period. “Lalu’s lunch box consists of roti-sabzi (green vegetables), dal, saag, litti and fruits,” Chandeshwar Singh said.
Nitish Kumar too eats similarly and sometimes opts for hot pakoras and tea.
Lalu Prasad, who is known for his fondness for non-vegetarian food like mutton and fish, is keeping away from them after his heart problem.
BJP president Amit Shah, who has been camping here since last week, opts for idlis, carrot, fruit and juices for breakfast before hitting the campaign trail.
Senior leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, a star campaigner of the BJP-led NDA, prefers to drink chacch and lassi to keep himself hydrated. “Modi is a fitness enthusiast; he is a strict vegetarian” party leader Sanjay Mayunkh said.
Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) president Jitan Ram Manjhi has turned vegetarian for the campaign.
“Manjhi is taking simple vegetarian food like green vegetables, two chapatis, dal and curd,” HAM spokesperson Danish Rizwan told IANS.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), also an NDA ally, prefers a mix of vegetarian and non-vegeterian food.
“Paswan prefers fish every day with green vegetables and fresh fruit,” a LJP leader said.
Interestingly, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad, Sushil Modi and Ram Vilas Paswan spend about an hour on a morning practising yoga.
“Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad walk for nearly an hour in their official premises in the morning and also practise yoga,” a JD-U leader said.
Nitish Kumar wakes up at 6 in the morning and his day ends after midnight. Even after returning from day-long hectic campaigning, he holds a series of meetings with party leaders and workers to discuss strategy, monitor constituency-wise developments and obtain feedback from the ground.
Lalu Prasad decides polls strategy by himself but does hold discussions with senior party leaders at night and also meets party workers for their feedback.
“Lalu Prasad keeps a close watch on developments in rival camps, particularly in the BJP, to target it” said an RJD leader.
Five-phased polls for the 243-member Bihar assembly will take place between October 12 and November 5, with the counting slated for November 8.