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Advani's yatra goes on without the rath
Pankaj Upadhyaya in Nagpur |
March 19, 2004 19:58 IST
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani must be congratulated for his foresight. He never called his Bharat Uday Yatra a 'rath yatra.'
Complete coverage of Advani's yatra
It would otherwise have been very embarrassing to be without his 'rath' for close to two days.
Advani's state-of-art Swaraj Mazda bus, which served him rather well as he traversed through Tamil Nadu, Kerala, parts of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, is currently lying with the Eros Motors Limited's workshop in Nagpur's Gujarwadi area.
It's still off the limit for the press, zealously guarded by some Bharatiya Janata Party workers and the mechanics on the shop floor.
Eros Motors' Anuj Pande said the vehicle is undergoing regular maintenance. But he could not explain why Advani has not used the bus for over 48 hours if the problem is a minor one.
Pande said they have orders to extend the air-conditioning to the driver's cabin, where Advani spends a lot of time in the co-driver's seat waving to supporters lining the yatra's route.
Very plausible. Temperatures in Vidrabha are touching 40-42 degree Celsius.
Pande, however, said the modification would be carried out only if it is technically feasible within the deadline given to them. The deadline, he said, is 1630 IST, Friday.
Advani was scheduled to leave for Bhandara at 1600 on Friday and returnto Nagpur late in the evening to address a rally at Chitnis Park. He will spend the night in Nagpur and leave for Madhya Pradesh after addressing a press conference on Saturday morning.
BJP sources said Advani will surely ride the bus into Madhya Pradesh, a state the party has recently wrested from its archrival, the Congress party.
They, however, said Advani not only wants the air-conditioning extended to the driver's cabin, he wants a door created between his cabin and that of the driver's. Currently, he has to get off the bus and then climb into the driver' cabin.
He does this almost every time the yatra is approaching a town. The procedure is repeated when he returns to his cabin, where he is joined by his family -- wife Kamala and daughter Pratibha -- and close advisers.
Advani entered Maharashtra on Thursday evening in Yavatmal district in a Tata Sumo. He has since been travelling in a Toyota Camry with the BJP's national vice-president, Gopinath Munde.