With less than a fortnight to go before polling day, the city will likely witness a deluge of visitors from all over the state, as supporters of each of the political parties contesting the state assembly elections come here to attend the rallies. It is estimated that the parties will hire at least 1,600 buses to ferry their supporters between rallies held across the city.
PM Narendra Modi is expected to make an appearance during the October 4 rally at Mahalaxmi Race Course, for which the BJP is reportedly hiring 900 buses. File pic for representation
According to sources, BJP alone is expected to commission around 900 buses, as the campaigns begin to heat up, especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expected speech at Mahalaxmi Race Course on October 4. Similarly, Congress, NCP and MNS are also expected to pull out all stops during the last few days of campaigning.
Bus operators are inundated with enquiries, as parties book the buses usually 50-seaters to carry their supporters across the city and state. “There are around 1,800 private buses, out of which a few have been hired by MNCs and other companies, and the rest have been hired for campaigning,” said a bus operator on condition of anonymity.
The booking rates comprise at least Rs 6,000 per bus, said bus operators who agreed that demand had increased manifold in the past few days. But the bus operators are looking forward to a better deal yet, as the parties are also hiring buses to take their supporters to their hometown, where they are registered as voters.
This trip will be undertaken on the eve of polling day. After voting, they will then be brought back to the city. Bus operators are charging a hefty Rs 40,000 per night, for a non-AC bus to ply on the western Maharashtra route.
The rates will vary depending on the route to be taken. According to the traffic police, the biggest problem will be parking, as these buses will probably be parked rashly along roads, highways and even under flyovers. Moreover, passengers on campaign buses have also been known to rampantly litter the roads without a care.