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Why Advani?s rath needs a tow truck to move around

Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani?s Bharat Uday Yatra has been plagued by a series of technical glitches, writes Srinavasa Prasad.
PTI | By Srinivasa Prasad, Kunigal (karnataka),
UPDATED ON APR 03, 2004 02:02 PM IST

Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani’s Bharat Uday Yatra has been plagued by one technical glitch after another since it kicked off from Kanyakumari on March 10. The bus — Advani refuses to call it a rath — has been dogged by starting troubles, a faulty AC, low seating and extra weight. And on Friday night, it ran out of fuel and lost Internet connection.

“This bus has some inherent problems,” admits Advani’s aide Deepak Chopra, adding philosophically, “These things happen. We have to go on improvising.”

A close look at the interiors reveals an untidy hotchpotch: a dusty carpet, two rugged sofas, a worn-out table with a fax machine and a laptop, a Samsung monitor, a DVD player — and a toilet.

It was driven to Kanyakumari on the night of March 9, just in time for Advani to launch his yatra the next morning. It was only at the last minute that bulletproof glasses were installed at the rear, where Advani was supposed to sit.

“But these glasses made Advani invisible to the crowds,” says Chopra. So he shifted to the front, next to the driver. This seat was low, so it was raised by six inches at Coimbatore.

Then it was found the driver’s cabin was not air-conditioned. So the partition between the front and the air-conditioned rear was bored to cool the driver’s cabin.

This increased the strain on the AC. With the bulletproof glasses adding to the vehicle’s weight, the engine too was strained, causing it to pack up occasionally.

When the bus ran out diesel on Friday night, Advani switched to a car — for the second time in three days — to reach a meeting. “There was plenty of diesel with us, but I needed time for filling,” said the driver sheepishly.

On Friday night, technicians were grappling with the Net access for the laptop. Does the DVD player work? Nobody knows. “We haven't switched it on,” says Chopra.

“This was OK for Dilip Singh Judeo (who used it in the Chhattisgarh elections) but not OK for Advaniji,” adds a local BJP worker.

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