Bhopal: As fuel prices skyrocket affordable e-rickshaws first choice in local body polls for campaigning

Are eco-friendly, cheaper to hire, can enter congested localities, say the candidates.

SmitaUpdated: Thursday, June 30, 2022, 07:03 PM IST
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BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Battery-operated electric rickshaws are seen as the favorite campaign vehicles for the candidates for corporators posts in the ongoing elections of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The hiring charges of petrol- or diesel-run vehicles are higher, given the high prices of the fuels. Moreover, the e-rickshaws have a smaller turning circle and can easily enter small localities with narrow lanes and bylanes.

Narendra Sahu drives a rented e-rickshaw. With two loudspeakers fitted on the roof of his vehicle blaring songs and messages urging the voters to press the ‘Gaajar button’ on July 6. Sahu drives around in the areas falling under Ward Number 34 (Chiklod, Jehangirabad) from 10 am to 9 pm. He has been doing this for the past six days. The back and sides of his vehicle are covered with posters carrying the pictures of Independent candidate Pappu Bhai Vilas, with a gazar (carrot) - his poll symbol - hanging by his side.

Sahu says he is paid Rs 1,000 per day. He has to shell out Rs 400 to the rickshaw owner as rent. Then, he has to pay Rs 70 for charging the battery and Rs 30 for parking charges. He is thus left with Rs 500 after the day’s labor.

Vinay Goswami’s rickshaw has been hired by Mohan Yadav, an Independent candidate from Ward number 48. Yadav’s poll symbol is a camera. He is required to move around in the ward with a CD playing on the system installed in the vehicle. He also gets Rs 1000 per day but doesn’t have to pay rent as the vehicle is owned by him.

When asked why he has chosen to hire an e-rickshaw, Yadav said that it is non-polluting. “Moreover, it can easily enter slum areas,” he said.

‘Satta badalni chahiye…’ blare the loudspeakers mounted atop the e-rickshaw of Chand Qureshi. Chand, who sells fruits on a handcart, has taken up this work temporarily. His vehicle has been hired by Mohammed Asif, the AAP candidate from Ward Number 34.

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