iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Reena Sopam, Hindustan Times
Patna, April 06, 2014
Getting married during the Lok Sabha elections comes with its own problems, such as the unavailability of vehicles for hire.
Almost all commercial vehicles are pressed into election duty or hired by candidates, forcing families with a wedding in the offing to change marriage dates and venues.

Mathura Lal, a retired government official settled in Patna, had to shift the venue of his daughter's wedding from the state capital to Darbhanga in north Bihar as he could not arrange SUVs to transport the groom's family between the two locations.

His daughter Vandana is getting married on April 19 while Patna goes to polls on April 17.

"There is a huge crisis of commercial vehicles right now. No transport agency could spare even a couple of SUVs for my daughter's wedding," said Lal.

Another retired government official Kamlakant Das had to reschedule his journey to Darbhanga, where his daughter is getting married on April 21.

Das wanted to leave from Patna for Darbhanga on April 17, but the capital has elections the same day and public transport would be virtually unavailable.

Public transport vehicles that are not already pressed into poll duty are usually missing from roads during polls for fear of being requisitioned for election purposes.

This has also led to a hike in the hiring rates of commercial vehicles.

"An Indica Vista, which usually costs Rs. 9 per km for local transport, will now cost Rs. 11. Similarly, Bolero, Chevrolet Tavera and Innova rates have gone up to Rs. 20 per km. Generally, their rates vary between Rs. 10 and Rs. 15," said Mananjay Singh of Uma Tours and Travels at Karbhigaiya in Patna.