Advani yatra set to roll today on made-in-Pune rath

Oct 11, 2011, 07:45 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Created by ace vehicle designer Dilip Chhabria at workshop in Pimpri, modified bus that will take senior BJP leader LK Advani to various parts of country on his Jan Chetna Rathyatra will finally be revealed today following 15 days of secrecy.

Senior leader of BJP Lal Krishna Advani's much-hyped Jan Chetna Rathyatra against corruption has a Pune link. The rath or chariot has been made in a workshop in Pimpri and is designed by well-known designer Dilip Chhabria.

Ready to get rolling: L K Advani at his residence during the launch
of Jan Chetna Rathyatra in New Delhi. The rathyatra will kickstart from
Sitabdiara in Bihar today;

The yatra, which kickstarts from Sitabdiara in Bihar today, will see the senior leader moving around in a modified bus, the design of which has been kept top secret so far. Details of the chariot were kept under wraps for the last 15 days while it was being created. "We have been asked by senior party leaders not to divulge any information on the chariot," said Chhabria. 

Dilip Chhabria who designed the chariot for the senior BJP leader. File pics

Second time
This is the second time the BJP has approached Chhabria for the design of its chariot. In 1990 also Chhabria had designed the chariot for Advani's yatra to mobilise support for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The earlier chariot had air-conditioned rest room, public address system and a satellite TV system. "We want to display the rath only on the day Advaniji actually begins his yatra," said Vikas Mathkarai, city unit chief of BJP. "It will be a simple bus with bare minimum facilities considering Advaniji's age. It took 15 days to complete the details of the interiors of the bus. It reached Patna a couple of days ago."

Top secret
Mathkari refused to divulge further information. He said he had got instructions from Delhi not to reveal the features or any information regarding the chariot. The details of chariot were kept so confidential that Sudhir Mungantiwar, state president of BJP, held a secret meeting with a few chosen party leaders and distributed the tasks among them. Within the party also, many leaders did not know about the design of the chariot and when it was dispatched said an insider.

Sources in the party refused to give any reason for keeping the details of the chariot a secret.
The yatra will traverse 100 districts of at least 24 states in the country. The 84-year-old leader will cover 300km area every day, said Mathkari.

Same means, different ends
There is a remarkable change in the motive behind L K Advani's two rathyatras. Earlier in 1990, Advani's rathyatra was undertaken to support the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The yatra was controversial and popular and it helped catapult BJP to the centre stage of national politics. The party eventually came to power in 1998. This time the motive has changed and importance is being given to issues such as inflation, corruption and good governance.

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