August 28, 2015
It is common knowledge that movie stars own or travel by caravans to their shooting spots. But little do the public know that most of the national and State leaders too travel in the same fashion. They either buy fully-furnished caravans complete with bed and toilet, or they get their own vehicles customised according to their needs.
And, all these vehicles are getting designed in Coimbatore by Koyas and Sons. For many years, vehicles of political leaders get customised here, especially during election campaign times, when they have to travel long distances for long durations of time. Most vehicles have a clinical toilet attached to it and a hydraulic lift seat which slowly glides the leaders atop the vehicles, when they have to address the public when there is no stage or podium.
Koyas and Sons began rolling out luxurious ‘raths’ or caravans for politicians much before BJP stalwart L.K. Advani made it fashionable with his Rath Yatra in 1990. AIADMK head and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, DMK leader T.R. Baalu, PMK Chief Ramadoss, and Vijayakanth of DMDK, are a few local leaders who customized their vehicles during elections.
The Koyas use technology to convert the interiors – motorised tables that slide below the arm rest of the sofas, motorised seats with ample leg support and leg rest, motorised partition to separate the driver’s cabin, etc., are provided. Foot rest of the vehicle is especially designed, for the safety of the security guard who holds his weapon outside the vehicle.
Two cameras (front and rear) allow the passengers to monitor the movement of the vehicle on a TV monitor from inside. Intercom facilities for the cabins are available too.
Apart from this, they have customized the vehicles with television with DTH facility, installed wi-fi system and an Internet modem too. The vehicle also has music systems with Bluetooth that allows use of the phone while driving.
According to the garage’s managing partner P.V. Mohammed Riaz, during an election interview to reporters, said that a campaign vehicle – essentially a tempo traveller – is virtually a luxury apartment on wheels. From toilet, sofa cum beds, recliners, refrigerator and microwave to TV, sensors and WiFi internet facility, it has everything one could ask for.
Depending on requirement, refurbishing the interiors of a campaign vehicle costs Rs 3-5 lakh. Each takes at least a month to complete, and political parties order well in advance to get theirs on time, he said