Curiously, all the proprietors of the four outlets offering band services on Jaitpur Road are all Congress supporters.
A photo of a young Ayub Khan dressed in his full regalia can be seen hanging behind the chair where his older self, reclines on a chair, in his office in a lane off Jaitpur Road. For 35 years he has been the proprietor of Janta Band and the owner of several brass instruments, band uniforms and hats that are stacked up behind a glass shelf.
Mid-day on Thursday, he was still making up his mind if he even wanted to vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the polling booth is just a stone’s throw away. A man of very few words, it was one of his colleagues who said that only 10 per cent of Mr. Khan’s band were eligible voters in Delhi. The majority were daily-wagers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
His friend Om Prakash Bawa, a horse buggy owner, and a common feature in the ‘wedding team’ that comprises Mr. Khan’s band and dhol wallahs, is a staunch Congress supporter. Curiously, all the proprietors of the four outlets offering band services on Jaitpur Road are all Congress supporters.
“The Congress party is the only one that cares about the poor,” said Mr. Bawa, elaborating that the money they make from their work is miniscule. “The BJP may get some seats but will not get allies. The Congress will have several parties coming forward to support it. So why not just give them the vote?” he said.
The seasonal nature of the work leaves most proprietors just breaking even. “If I was earning well, it would reflect in the way my office looks,” laughed Akthar Khan, from Ajanta Sevak Band that promises ‘lovely dresses and punctuality’ as part of its services. “We earn depending on auspicious stars. If it is an auspicious date then we earn really well say Rs. 12,000-Rs. 15,000 per night during wedding seasons,” he said, adding that the choice on who to vote will depend on what the party promises to workers.
Two doors away, Mehboob who runs ‘Great Star Band’ is the sole Aam Aadmi Party supporter among his colleagues. “I have voted based on my preference. Various parties merely take out road shows during election time. Nobody promises anything substantial,” he said, placing his faith in the AAP this time around. His colleagues laughed at him and said: “Jhaadu walay pata nahin kaun hein. (We do not know who they are). But we heard they got slapped.”