Election Campaign Vehicle: Things That Changed In The Last Few Decades

Did you know that the first Lok Sabha elections won by Nehru had 75.99% as the winning share? Or that there were no specific vehicles used for campaigning in the past?


There is a long history of election campaigning in India. In the past, door to door interactions, pamphlets and oratory were the major tactics used by the political parties during an election. But with the passage of time, things changed and gave way to ‘digital’ and ‘technology’. From open jeeps to vans, campaigning vehicles for elections have seen the rise of luxury buses in election campaigns.


But this is not the only thing that changed. There are a host of other things that fickled with the changing times. Some of them are:


Exclusive government vehicles are not used during elections:


Yes, in case you think that all the campaigning vehicles are supplied by the government, it is not so. On the contrary, there is a set of rules and regulations that are imposed on the kind of vehicle to be used. A proper protocol has to be maintained on what kind of vehicle can be used and where would it come from. There are some departments whose vehicle cannot be utilised for publicity purposes at any cost. For example, Central Govt. vehicles are forbidden to be used for such purposes.Private vehicles, cars on rent or election specific vehicles enforced their presence on this front as a result of this rule. Additionally, the vehicles used for such purposes are to be discarded as soon as the polling starts.

A Mandatory set of rules pertaining to the use of vehicles: 


As laid down by the Election Commission of India, there are now number of mandatory guidelines which need to be followed by anyone contesting an election. Some of the major ones are-

  • Only two, three or four wheelers are allowed
  • The vehicle allotted to a candidate for the election cannot pass his/her rights to any other person for commercial or personal use of the vehicle
  • A permission is required from the local Regional Officer to use specialised vehicles like armoured election campaign vans or the like



Vehicles account for major expenses in election campaigning:


Open Jeeps and SUVs are now things of the past. Also, the maximum cost in advertising for a political party now depends on the kind of the vehicle hired or purchased for the purpose. In general, the cost of election campaign vehicle commands the lions share in the overall expenses ofa political party’s campaign. The budgetary prerogatives of special applications vans manufacturer thus are more on the features and multi-usability of the vehicle-accordingly the cost. To further add, politicians do not shy away from spending lakhs on a specialised armour vehicle. This allows the room for specialised van manufacturers to make better and improved versions without worrying for the expenses much.


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Features of Campaigning vehicles are just fantastic:


World class features comprising of teak wood furnishing, electrical lift, sofa cum bed, speakers, home theatre, CCTV with DVR, massage chair make campaigning vehicles of today stand apart. Today’s buses or vans are not mere campaigning vehicles but are ‘compact political offices’ on the road while campaigning. The manufacturing of customised vehicles is one such aspect. The client dictates his/her desire for the kind of features to be added.For example, many political parties ask for armoured vans and buses for such purposes. Leading bus manufacturers like JCBL incorporates these kinds of features appropriately.



Armoured Specifications arriving on the scene:


With threats and ambush attacks showing its ugly face these days, armoured vans have arrived to the rescue. Today, these vans have made it possible to campaign without any hassle. An armoured vehicle takes care of all of these aspects perfectly. These specialised vehicles come with BR6 levels of armouring. Ballistic steel body with bullet catchers on door frames, run-flat tyre fittings, blast resistant body, and emergency exit door are the main highlights of such vehicles. Also, barricaded door travel retainers, upgraded brakes, and radiator protection make it highly useful to bear the stress of election campaigning.



Voting and elections are twin brothers in disguise. And advertising political manifestos have become hi-tech. Today, the election campaign vans used during an election have come a long way in terms of features and usability.


The time has changed. From using mere simple cars/jeeps to specialised features enabled vehicles, political campaigning has come a long way.


This points to one thing for sure, the future of campaigning is upgrading to a high-tech mode. And it’s definitely here to stay. The day has dawned upon us with people saying- ‘When science met politics’


What do you think that propelled the advent of such vehicles? Do these justify the present political scenario?

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