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Advani's rath keeps changing with time

By Super

Ahmedabad, Apr 7: The sixth Rath Yatra of BJP leader L K Advani have assimilated newer technologies with the changing times but the rath carrying the Bharat Suraksha Yatri is yet to address the security threat issue expressed by the intelligence agencies.

The rath carrying the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha from Rajkot to New Delhi passing through 10 states was prepared in about a fortnight by a Pune firm at an estimated the cost of Rs 20 lakhs providing minimal comfort in the 6,000-km long yatra in the ambience of a mini-five star hotel room.

The rath fitted with a hydraulic lift would become a podium and with six powerful flood lights and a public address system, has an interview room to interact with visiting journalists which will also double up as a bedroom.

Eventhough the vehicle passes through several sensitive areas with naxal activities, it is not bulletproof. The time constraint and the distance the vehicle has to travel in one day--250 to 280 kms-- were two impediments in constructing a bulletproof rath.

The Home Ministry has asked the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of the states through which the yatra transverse to accord highest possible security cover to Mr Advani.

The vehicle has two drivers -- Mr Bhagawan Tabji Tambe Bandu and Mr Shravan Amle from Maharashtra.

The accompanying team of journalists and photographers also have a reason to cheer as a virtual mobile media centre is attached with the yatra. The journalists can send fax, photographs and e-mails through four computer terminals using mobile-based internet services.

There are also facilities to download and view news and interviews telecast by the television channels.

''I don't know if this is the first attempt to use mobile technology for facilitating the journalists to despatch their news reports and photographs from the meeting venue or anywhere in the mid-way,'' Mr Chaitanya Kashyap, the managing director of a media foundation said.

The power needs of the specially designed vehicle is backed by two portable generators to enable media centre to function as a stand-alone unit even in remote villages untouched by telephone or power lines.

Eventhough lot of leaders have taken out rath yatras in the past, it was the late N T Rama Rao who introduced the rath yatra concept to reach out to every nook and corner of Andhra Pradesh in the early 80s.

Mr Advani's Ram Ratha Yatra 16 years ago was a bigger version of the Rath concept of the former Andhra Chief Minister. BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi also embarked on the Bharat Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Mr Advani used the rath in 2003 for his Bharat Uday Yatra.


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