Chhagan Bhujbal, PWD and tourism minister, has never hidden his aspiration of being in the driver’s seat of Maharashtra’s politics. The senior NCP leader, who is in an intense power struggle within his party, finally got in the driver’s seat — albeit of a vintage Buick convertible.
Bhujbal, who was to inaugurate a vintage car rally in the city on Sunday, suddenly decided to participate himself and bagged the “seniormost participant” prize. Bhujbal is 63. The rally titled ‘The Vintage Car and Bike Rally’ was organised by the Western India Automobile Association.
Initially, Bhujbal was to flag off the rally by driving a “1947 Buick convertible” from Horniman Circle to Hutatma Chowk. But, after getting behind the steering wheel, he decided to complete the rally till Bandra and return.
“By completing the rally, he became the first minister to do so and also the seniormost driver,” sources close to the minister said.
One of the organisers, Nitin Dossa, who is the owner of the car that Bhujbal drove, said the 1947 Buick convertible is extremely difficult to drive. “It’s a left-hand drive and there is no power steering. Present day drivers find it very difficult to control the vehicle. But, Bhujbal drove it effortlessly,” he added. DGP D Sivanandan drove a 1952 Chrysler convertible.
Organisers of the rally claimed that the event was organised with the aim of showcasing vintage vehicles from around the country and to create an event of the magnitude of the Derby races. About 147 vintage cars participated in the event.