Been there, seen it all, says Advani | india | Hindustan Times
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Been there, seen it all, says Advani

Leader of Opposition LK Advani says he is not bothered by security threats or the strain of road travel his Bharat Suraksha yatra would entail.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 00:56 IST

LEADER OF Opposition L K Advani says he is not bothered by security threats or the strain of road travel his Bharat Suraksha yatra would entail.

“I have done it five times in the last 15 years. Each yatra is a special experience to reach out to people,” he said, dismissing criticism that a yatra in peak summers is a bad idea. “I fell sick only once during my yatras and that was in Bihar during the Janadesh yatra of 1993.”

He told the Hindustan Times on Monday that while the government has to do its job (protecting leaders), too much publicity should not be given to security threats. “Too much security comes in the way of public contact,” he added

Advani said “When I sit in a bullet-proof vehicle, I cannot see anyone outside and vice versa. I always prefer to travel by our vehicle. I consider security hazards part of my political life.”

Along with BJP president Rajnath Singh, Advani’s yatra will cover 10 states over 6,000 km, starting from Rajkot, Gujarat on April 6. Rajnath will cover 12 states over 5,500 km, starting from Puri, Orissa. Both leaders will conclude their respective yatras in Delhi on May 10.

Despite the government’s willingness and the BJP’s readiness, the bulletproofing of the vehicles for the yatras may not be done for lack of time.

Both vehicles have to reach the starting point of the two yatras by the night of April 5. While Rajnath’s bus has to come to Puri from Bangalore, Advani’s vehicle, an Eicher bus done up by car designing expert Dilip Chabria of DC Design, has to reach Rajkot from Pune.

BJP leaders say the government has woken up too late to its bulletproofing task to complete it by April 6, which is, both, the BJP’s foundation day and Ram Navami. The Union home ministry had sent a planeload of men and material to Pune only by Monday evening to inspect Advani’s vehicle for the special armour reinforcement.

A BJP leader said the ministry team needed at least 30 hours to complete their job. “But we are running out of time.”  Another said: “the official approach is too bureaucratic. The team has to talk to the car designer to see if the vehicle can take the load.”