Election Tourism

As election season peaks, tourists are in for a unique experience — be part of a political rally, meet a leader, take part in a heated political discussion in a village chaupal.
It’s the season for “election tourism” as the political climate in a state with the highest number of seats and the most number of PM aspirants heats up. A tour operators’ guild in Gujarat is hard-selling politically-hot places like Varanasi — from where the state’s CM is trying to realize his prime-ministerial dreams — to both foreign and domestic tourists. They have planned circuits with politics thrown in. The Delhi-Lucknow-Varanasi-Delhi circuit has been marked as “Banaras: The heart of elections” and the Lucknow-Ayodhya-Lucknow circuit is named “UP Central.” Varanasi followed by Ayodhya and Lucknow are the hot destinations.
Tourism organizers are booking trips for people, many of them NRIs from the UK to Middle East.
The mystique of India has been peppered with political excitement. And the colour of Indian elections is sure to add to the glamour. Since tourism is all about innovation, this is working and Tour operators have been attracting foreign tourists by projecting the elections in the world’s largest democracy. Their brochures say: “Mere scale of Indian elections is a factor — 814.5 million voters to choose their representatives in 543 constituencies. The colours of Indian elections such as huge public gatherings, diverse ways of electioneering which includes human mascots, singing and dancing groups besides passive means like posters and banners…”
Tourists will be able to be a part of political rallies, interact with leaders in party offices to discuss on party strategy, ideology and mission and also spend nights in villages where political discussions are at a crescendo.
“Indian elections have always fascinated researchers and policy makers from across the world. No wonder it will attract the common man too. Tourism around elections certainly sounds interesting,” said a retired EC official.

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