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Bullet-proofing experts, image consultants, advertisers see big business in India elections: Report

Helicopters are in high demand, with companies charging Rs 1.5 lakh per hour for single engine helicopters.

May 07, 2019 / 12:25 PM IST
Nadia People wait in queues to cast their votes at a polling station at Gayeshpur in Bangaon parliamentary constituency, during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Nadia district, Monday, May 6, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Nadia People wait in queues to cast their votes at a polling station at Gayeshpur in Bangaon parliamentary constituency, during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Nadia district, Monday, May 6, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections have provided an opportunity for image-makeover companies, political slogan writers and experts in bullet-proofing vehicles, according to a Bloomberg report.

Held in seven phases, India's general election is the world's costliest. The current election is expected to cost almost $8.6 billion, according to the Centre for Media Studies.

Helicopters are in high demand, with companies charging Rs 1.5 lakh per hour for single-engine helicopters and Rs 2.5 lakh for twin-engine helicopters, the report said.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the news.

The cost of hiring business jets is even higher, with the price going as high as Rs 4.6 lakh, the report added.

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Jalandhar-based Laggar Industries, which specializes in armouring vehicles, has been receiving a good number of orders.

"So far, we have armored 30 to 35 vehicles during this election and it’s a good number," Sanchit Sobi, Laggar Industries’ director, told Bloomberg.

The company’s staff has been working overtime to complete orders, customizing vehicles to handle gunfire and grenade attacks.

Such modifications and additions to vehicles cost Rs 6 lakh to Rs 40 lakh, and an order takes about two to three months to complete, the report said.

Politicians and political parties also hire strategic consultancies and advertising agencies.

"In terms of volumes, the advertisement business is around 25 billion rupees (Rs 2,500 crore) for this year’s election. And some 20 to 25 agencies must be working with political parties," Raaj Hiremath, the managing director of Ushak Kaal Communications, told the news agency.

Strategic consultants typically assist politicians with speeches, slogans and social media, which helps improve their image in the public eye.

"Every image is carefully crafted. It depends on the objective the client has. If he wants to portray himself as an educated politician, all publicity material will be designed that way." Sudhanshu Rai, the founder of communication firm Saints Art, told Bloomberg.

But, there are some businesses of which prospects are not bright this election season. Selling traditional campaign material has become less lucrative because the focus has shifted to social media.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 7, 2019 12:25 pm

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