There was a sense of relief and hope in Mangalhat, Dhoolpet and Purana Pul areas within hours of arrest of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Raja Singh. “ Raja Singh ko arrest kar diye na. Mahol theek ho jayenga (Raja Singh has been arrested, now the situation will improve),” said Rameshwar Singh who was following the updates of police action on his phone. He manufactures and sells Ganesh idols during this season. “They were barricading roads near Purana Pul and Mangalhat side and our business got affected over the past three days. This is the peak time for sale,” said Mr. Singh who moulds the idols in Aramghar Colony near Raja Singh’s residence. The barricades were moved aside and the police personnel who were on their toes over the past few days could not be seen.
Elsewhere in the warren of lanes, it was business as usual as towering idols of Lord Ganesha were being transported on regular as well as modified vehicles.
“We start work at least six months before the season. Most of the big idols are booked. It takes one day to mould them, a day to dry, then we polish and paint in a single day,” said Raju Singh, who began making the idols with clay four decades ago. “Clay takes more time, this is less time consuming,” he said as his family members got busy wetting coir to cast one more idol.
After two years of impact due to COVID-19 pandemic, business is looking up, said other traders dealing with the idols. “Our night sales were affected over the past few days. Most of the buyers of expensive idols are from the districts. They could not come here. Now it will change,” hoped Mahesh Singh who gets idols from Sholapur, Maharashtra and sells them in the city.
“The big idols are booked. We need business from districts as well as the city for the smaller idols. If there are disturbances our business will go for a toss,” said Mr. Singh.