BHUBANESWAR: The 2019 elections have simply raised the bar in more ways than one. Electioneering too has gone a notch up. Shunning the traditional campaign mode, political leaders are going for the hi-tech as well as the glitz.
Setting the tone is none other than Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik. Once campaigning from his rather modest mid-sized cars, he has chosen a fully air-conditioned high-tech bus this time around.
The `one crore bus customised for election campaign is fitted with a 16-tonne AC, hydraulic lift, bed, comfortable sofa, audio-visual set and washroom with modern toilet besides a conference hall and VSAT facility. Equipped with internet and satellite TV, it resembles a luxury hotel room.
With the mercury going crazy in this part of the country, Naveen would be spared the sweltering heat. He can be lifted through the sun-roof in this bullet-proof bus and address the public.
Used for the first time during Odisha elections, Naveen’s bus was an instant hit at Berhampur where he conducted a 60-km roadshow on Wednesday. He also took part in a roadshow in the bus in Jeypore on Friday.
BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the bus has been rented for election campaign. “It has all facilities for comfortable electioneering by the BJD supremo. He would conduct roadshows in the bus in all districts during the four-phase elections,’ he explains. Painted green and white to match with BJD symbol, it has bears the photo of Naveen.
The BJD has rented two such buses and plans to cover all 147 Assembly constituencies in its 25-day campaign trail.
With the first phase elections only five days away, the BJD has hit the ground with full force experimenting with technology. The party has already flagged off 44 vans having LED screens.
These vans will, with audio ad video features, cover all constituencies highlighting the work done by the BJD Government during its tenure. Separate videos also are being screened on its poll plank on Central neglect towards Odisha.
The BJP and Congress are not left behind in the race. They are also reaching out to the people through hi-tech campaign vehicles, social media and other hi-tech medium to highlight failures of the State Government.
South India leads in high-tech campaign
High-tech campaign vehicles are a regular feature in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh and were used in the last State elections. Tall leaders like J Jayalalitha, M Karunanidhi and former CM Ajit Jogi had earlier embarked on luxurious buses during their campaign trails.