Popularised by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, small-time leaders are buying the traditional cloth, which, strapped to the arm, is believed to bring luck

It is charm, they say, that brings a leader his votes. The leader, on the other hand, is attracted by a charm of another kind.

With elections in the air, small-time leaders in the city are flocking to Laad Bazaar, led by none other than TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, for the lucky charm, the talisman, the ‘Imam Zamin’.

It was Mr. Rao who popularised the piece of traditional cloth, which is worn around the arm and believed to bring in good luck. The TRS chief wears the strap regularly on his right arm and minority leaders, cutting across party lines, are now lining up at the shops to purchase it for their party leaders.

“Nowadays the khadi-clad buy it. In the past, only locals would drop by to purchase it,” says Mohammed Bari, a trader at Laad Bazaar.

The practice of tying the Imam Zamin is rather old. The piece of cloth has in it a small pouch to hold a coin, or a currency note.

“People wear them after sealing the pouch with coins or notes, and pray for a safe journey. Once they reach their destination, the money is given by the bearer in charity,” Mr. Bari adds.

The Imam Zamin is available in various designs and is priced between Rs.30 and Rs.100 each.

“It depends on the size and the design. The general public prefer the low-priced ones while the leaders prefer the costlier ones,” says Abdul Junaid, another trader.

Sales peak during the annual Haj pilgrimage, when, as a customary practice, many buy it and tie it to the pilgrims. It is also a tradition to tie it to the bridegroom on the wedding day, another trader says.

With elections round the corner, the traders expect more sales in the days to come.

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