Big politicians, bigger cars

Published on May 08, 2004 11:39 AM IST

Vehicles offering the ultimate in luxury are being flaunted with impunity as big political leaders venture out like kings to seek votes from poor villagers in Haryana.

HT Image
HT Image
PTI | ByJaideep Sarin (IANS), Bhiwani

Taking on the rough and tough of rural India in sweltering heat of 43 degree Celsius and above may not be an easy task, but politicians in Haryana seem to be doing it in style.

Vehicles offering the ultimate in luxury are being flaunted with impunity as big political leaders venture out like kings to seek votes from poor villagers who haven't even heard the word air-conditioner.

"Big, swank cars are a source of amusement to the people who gather around rally venues to see these," a senior leader in Bhiwani admitted.

Leading the way here is Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala's son Ajay Singh, who moves around in his mighty Lexus sports utility vehicle (SUV).

The Rs 8 million vehicle raises dust as it moves in a long cavalcade of other vehicles. Be it newly-tarred roads or negotiating the undulated tracks in villages, the vehicle seems to be at ease.

Inside, every control of the vehicle fixed with automatic gears is touch-screen. Interiors are plush and so is the cooling.

Other vehicles accompanying Ajay's cavalcade are no less expensive. A few Ford Endeavours (Rs1.4 million), Scorpios (Rs 600,000) and others form part of his entourage.

His Congress opponent Kuldip Singh's father and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal is no less.

Kuldip Singh moves around in an E-class white Mercedes. The potholes and drains of village roads don't seem to be of much concern as the swank car negotiates them with ease.

Kuldip Singh himself uses a Scorpio jeep, while the third main opponent from Bhiwani, Surender Singh of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP), moves around in an air-conditioned Toyota Qualis.

Chief Minister Chautala himself is using a custom-made vehicle designed by car-designer Dilip Chabbaria. The vehicle gives the impression of being an imported Mitsubishi.

Chautala's campaign vehicle is loaded with all luxuries and an in-built public address system. He just has to come out through the sunroof to address people.

Lights have been fixed on the roof for conducting small roadside rallies even at night.

Chautala's other son, Abhay, who is contesting from the Kurukshetra Parliamentary constituency, uses a Mitsubishi Pajero SUV. Abhay's main opponent Naveen Jindal is no less when it comes to luxury.

Naveen is using two Lexus SUVs in his cavalcade, while a Mercedes remains stationed at home in Kurukshetra for back-up.

Son of famous steel-industry family of Jindals, Naveen doesn't mind showing the luxury to the electorate.

Film star-turned-politician Sunil Dutt was brought to Kurukshetra this week in a private aircraft arranged by Jindals to campaign for Naveen.

Most politicians are using Toyota Qualis and other vehicles to carry their own public address systems at venues of small public meetings. No sound system is required to be set up at such venues.

The leader uses a cordless microphone while speakers fitted on roof of the vehicle spread the message loudly. Such vehicles are stationed just a few feet from the rally venue.

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