In election time, the Amby
By Azera Rahman
Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) As they battle for power in Delhi's assembly
elections, a Mercedes Benz, a Toyota Prado or a Scorpio SUV
have become common sights.
for many candidates, the good old Ambassador still remains
are many like Vijay Jolly - a rising star of the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) who is taking on Delhi's Congress Chief
Minister Sheila Dikshit in the very heart of the city - who
enjoy driving their luxury cars.
have a Mercedes Benz E class, a Mahindra Scorpio, a Honda
Civic, a Hyundai Santro and a Maruti Van," the businessman-politician
rattled off the names of the cars he owns.
him, Mahabal Mishra of the Congress party drives a Toyota
Prado. His colleagues Subhash Chopra and Kiran Walia drive
sedans - Chopra owns a Skoda Octavia and Walia an Opel Astra.
while luxury cars hold their own place of pride, it's the
old and sturdy Ambassador car that most politicians list as
their all time favourite - at least when it comes to work.
Deo Solanki of the BJP has been driving an Ambassador for
30 long years.
"I replace my old Ambassador with a new one every five-six
years. But it is always the same car," Solanki said,
confessing his fetish for the Amby, as the car is popularly
Singh Tanwar of the BJP is also fond of the Ambassador - and
a white one at that. According to him, no other car can beat
the worth of an Ambassador with the red beacon - the ultimate
symbol of power.
white Ambassador with a red beacon is worth more than those
luxury sedans," Tanwar said.
Minister Sheila Dikshit does not own a car but travels in
the white Ambassador provided to her in her official capacity.
Indian politician's love affair with the Ambassador began
decades ago when it ruled the Indian streets - along with
the Fiat. But unlike the Fiat, the Ambassador enjoyed government
the process, it became the de facto official car. Down from
the prime minister, everyone who mattered in the administration
had one. It did not take long for it to be associated with
power - and prestige.
came the Maruti, posing the first serious challenge to the
Ambassador. And as the economy opened up in the 1990s, the
Ambassador gave way to other cars even in the government.
it still retains much of its old time charm - and so does,
to some extent, the Fiat.
Singh of the Congress - who has created a record by winning
10 consecutive elections from the same constituency - is one
who cannot get over his 1970 model Fiat car.
car has a special meaning for me. It is sort of lucky for
me. I drove our former prime minister Indira Gandhi as well
as Babu Jagjivan Ram in this very car," Prem Singh told
is obvious, the Fiat is his favourite, although he owns a
host of other cars, including a Tata Innova and a Honda CRV.
candidate in Delhi who owns a fleet of cars is Kanwar Singh
Tanwar of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). But come election
and he ditches them all to ride the humble bicycle - to reach
out to those who live in the many lanes that are too narrow
for his luxury cars.