Helicopters, not fiery speeches attract voters in Assam

March 29th, 2009 - 1:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Dongkamokam (Assam), March 29 (IANS) It’s not fiery speeches of politicians that is drawing a large number of people to attend election rallies in Assam’s countryside, but choppers that have become the main attraction.
Elderly Robin Bey and his wife Elena trekked about a mile from their village to Dongkamokam village in Assam’s hill district of Karbi Anglong Sunday morning just to have a close glimpse of a helicopter carrying some politicians.

“When we heard that some politicians are coming by helicopter to address an election meeting, I decided to bring my family, including my two sons, so that they can have a look at the plane from close,” Robin told IANS rather hastily as he seemed in no mood to talk as the four-seater chopper landed on a makeshift helipad close to the meeting venue.

There was a mad rush with hundreds of tribal people jostling for space to have a close view of the blue and white chartered helicopter in Dongkamokam, around 300 km from Guwahati.

Assam Congress party president Bhubaneswar Kalita and former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Mukut Mithi were excited seeing the crowd response and waved at them, little knowing that a vast majority of these people were there to have a look at the chopper carrying them.

“Of course we came to the rally to have a look at the helicopter… the feeling is really great,” Dhiren Ingti, an elderly peasant said as his face gleamed with joy even as his grey hair was ruffled with the choppers rotors creating a blast of air.

Even after the leaders made their way to the podium after alighting from the chopper, a large crowd of people stayed put near the helipad, simply awestruck at the sight of the helicopter.

One could see Congress party volunteers and security personnel herding the crowd to the meeting ground, a sight best seen than described as most of them were simply not interested to hear their election speeches.

“All politicians make false promises and visit us only during elections… so what is the point in listening to them,” said Monsing Rongpi, a schoolteacher.

The meeting ended after an hour and it was time for the leaders to fly out and the crowd became impatient once again to have a final glimpse of the flying bird.

The helicopter took off leaving a trail of dust, but the crowd was not disappointed - for many of them it was truly an experience of a lifetime.

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