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Choppers in demand as poll din reaches feverish pitch

HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Oct 31, 2017 15:22 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal elections,Virbhadra,Congress

As the campaign for Himachal Pradesh heats up, the use of helicopters by political leaders has reached new heights.

The campaign window for the polls which will take place on November 9,was cut short by nearly 12 days as model code of conduct(MCC) kicked in on October 13.

This meant parties had to scramble their leaders to various parts of the state for rallies, campaign activities and public meetings.

“It had become difficult to traverse from one end (of the state) to others for our leaders,” said BJP’s Sandeepani Bhardwaj, who is responsible for arranging choppers for the party’s leaders.

“We have hired three helicopters from a private company in Delhi and if need be, we will engage more,” he told HT .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are the main campaigners for the BJP.

The saffron party, which is vying for a comeback in the state, is also relying on former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda .

All four of these leaders are being flown to different parts of the state.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also used a chopper when he visited the state earlier this month.

On the Congress side, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has become a frequent flyer.

On Monday, he flew to Seraj tehsil to attend a rally to support Congress candidate Chet Ram Thakur, a loyalist of his.

“He travels both by road and chopper” said a member of the CM’s staff, not authorised to speak with the media.

Several sources said, besides the cutting the travel time of leaders, choppers also help political parties to pull crowd in the rural areas.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 15:22 IST