Advani rath's AC makes BJP leaders sick

Oct 13, 2011, 08:00 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

After yatra reaches Patna, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders get off modified-in-Pune bus as major technical glitches in air-conditioning system cause nausea and sickness.

After yatra reaches Patna, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders get off modified-in-Pune bus as major technical glitches in air-conditioning system cause nausea and sickness.

"I have gone round the country hundreds of times. But I can't do without oxygen for breathing," tweeted Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday. The BJP politician's tweet was about the dysfunctional air-conditioner in senior party leader L K Advani's Jan Chetna Yatra rath, and she kept updating her Twitter account quite frequently yesterday. Advani's Pimpri-made chariot seems to have faced some major technical glitches in the air-conditioning system while in Chhapra district of Bihar on Tuesday.

Airing her condition: Senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley
and LK Advani. Swaraj set Twitter on fire with frequent posts about her
experience on board the chariot used by Advani for his Jan Chetna
Yatra. File pics

Nausea, suffocation
Insiders claimed that senior party leaders, including Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, fell ill and complained of nausea and suffocation, which forced them to get off the modified luxury Volvo bus in Patna. To a question sent on Twitter by MiD DAY, Swaraj replied with a direct message: "The exhausts of two generators got broken. The fumes got released in the AC ducts next to them. The bus was modified in your city."

Oxygen, please! Senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj,
Arun Jaitley wave to the crowd during the Jan Chetna Yatra; both
Swaraj and Jaitley got off the bus in Patna. A page grab of
Swaraj's Twitter account in which the posts complaining about her
discomfort appear

Designer's defence
As the glitch in the rath became a topic of discussion, Dilip Chhabria of DC Design, who modified the bus for Advani's use, decided to wash his hands of the matter and said: "We are not responsible for the air-conditioning system. The manufacturer is responsible for this." Chhabria, who also made Advani's chariot in 1990 for his rathyatra to mobilise support for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, added: "I don't have any idea about the whole issue. We are only responsible for the facilities like washroom, lift and pantry, which are fitted inside the bus for the leader's comfort. If there is any technical problem regarding the air-conditioner, then it is the responsibility of manufacturer."

Even though auto experts in the city agreed with Chhabria, they also felt that the modifier should have taken proper care before dispatching the vehicle by repeatedly conducting various trials to detect any defects.
Experts also said that drivers of such chariots should be specially trained and must be skilled enough to drive such specialised vehicles.

Sources in Swaraj's office confirmed that there were seven to eight people in the bus who started feeling suffocated because of the air-conditioning inside the rath. Doctors feel such problems can be risky since both the leaders who suffered from bouts of nausea and vomiting are over the age of 50 years. "The excess level of carbon monoxide may cause dizziness, headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects; larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system and heart, and even death," said Dr Kalyan Gangwal.

Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's tweet:
The airconditioner released diesel fumes in the enclosed bus leading to suffocation

City BJP: No comments
THE city BJP unit refused to comment on the rath air-conditioning issue. Party leaders said they were busy in the Khadakwasla bypoll arrangements and did not have any idea about the issue

Bus trapped on bridge
There was one more unexpected glitch that Advani's chariot faced yesterday. Around noon, the vehicle was trapped on the Koliwar bridge built on the Sone river in Arrah district of Bihar. The bridge can carry vehicles which are 13 feet in height, while Advani's chariot is 13.5 feet. The bus was trapped for nearly two hours on the bridge and could go further only after some of the air in the tyres was released.

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