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Mother of all election holidays a week away

April 27, 2004 08:22 IST

Summertime, goes the song, and the livin's easy. More so if polls are held in summer and the Election Commission obligingly designs them over long weekends.

If the voter turnout in Mumbai on Monday was low, it is largely because families decided to take advantage of the extended weekend, with the bonus Monday a mandatory day off for voting.

Veena Patil, managing director of Kesri Tours, said: "Many people have extended their vacation. For instance, at present 2,000 people are vacationing under our travel plans. Around 500 of these are on international holidays and another 1,500 are holidaying in India. Around 800-1,000 people have extended their holidays."

But the mother of all election holidays is yet to come. Leave office at 5.00 pm on Friday, April 30, and you don't have to return till Thursday, May 6 -- May 3 is Eid Milad-e-Nabi, May 4 is Buddha Purnima, May 5 is the election. So if you're living in Jaipur, this is the time to take a holiday.

Sadly, people who avail of this break can't take advantage of the next one -- starting Friday, May 7, and ending Tuesday, May 11 -- because May 10 is another election. The last phase of the election benefits those in Delhi.

Tour operators have seen a sudden increase in bookings in holiday destinations near Delhi for the weekend starting May 9. There is a run on rooms in some hotels.

Trade sources say travellers are not going through the organised tour operator route. Instead, most of them are just going to destinations near their cities and are dealing with hotels and resorts directly.
BS Bureau in New Delhi