Trepidation on the security front in poll time has triggered a surge in demand for thin bulletproof vests as an undergarment armor, besides bulletproof vehicles, used jeeps and other low-priced off-road vehicles for campaigning.
Suppliers say the demand is particularly high in states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. For those who enjoy the luxury of Z-plus security cover, the paraphernalia comes along with highly trained commandoes, bullet-proof vehicles and well-rehearsed standard operational procedures to tackle exigencies. But then, there are several high-flying cash-rich candidates, many with their Man Friday tagging along, who are banking upon such self-protection measure to stay secure while they run through the vagaries and risks of campaigning.
Just like the formidable Kuldeep Bishnoi, the president of the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), an ally of the BJP in the state, there are scores of candidates across party lines who may hesitate to flaunt a bullet-proof vest as an undergarment armor, but would perhaps think twice to move out without wearing one. A supplier of bulletproof vests, Balwinder Singh Sekhon, said they were available in various sizes and cost anywhere from Rs 60,000 to double the amount.
As poll campaigning picks up, especially in Haryana and Chandigarh – the latter being one of the first states to go to polls on April 10 – the demand for used vehicles is witnessing a rise. Raj Guru Singh, a Chandigarh-based car dealer, said the demand for the standard gypsy, jeeps and some other indigenous off-road vehicles has suddenly picked up. He said regardless of parties people from Punjab and Haryana look for cheap and durable vehicles that could be given out to workers for campaigning in the hinterland. Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are also preferred when it comes to “protected” vehicles. Jalandhar-based director of Laggar Industries Limited Sunchit Sobti said the demand for such vehicles has increased many times since last general elections in 2009.
The bullet proof vehicles can withstand even lethal firepower. They come with state-of-the-art bulletproof tyres.