How did India’s first public bus company get started?
The founder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a former state government minister and the head of the Bharatiyas Panchayat (BSP).
The company started out as a bus company in a village in south-west Bihar, and in its early years it took pride in its “patriotism” and “patriotic spirit”.
Today, it operates over 4,000 buses and is part of the Union Budget, the Government of India’s public transport system.
It was formed in 1992 by the Bihar State Public Service Employees’ Union (BSPSU) and Bharatiyan Mahasabha, a local outfit, and has been in business since then.
BSP founder and chairman Jairam Ramesh says the name Bharatiyah was chosen for its “love of India” and its desire to make a “new life” for its workers.
The name of the company is derived from a word used in the Hindu scriptures and in the name of its founder, Jairah Rameshs.
In 2002, Rameshi and his wife, Vemma, bought the bus company for about Rs 10 crore and they were able to make it profitable.
He says the business went into “a stall” but the time came to change the name.
“After we bought the company, we realised that we had no business model,” he says.
“It was a very big, slow start but I think we did the right thing.
It was good for us.”
Bharatiya Mahasobha started off with just a bus service but now, its buses have become part of nearly every community and have become a symbol of “patrimony” and patriotism.
The company is also a major player in the BSP’s campaign to win over voters.
Its buses ply in many parts of the country, with buses in various parts of cities, towns and villages.
There are around 6,000 vehicles registered under the company’s fleet.
“There is a big gap between the public transport and the bus companies,” says Anil Vij, general secretary of the Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Bus routes are divided into two groups: rural and urban.
Rural routes run from Panchkula to Ahmedabad in Uttar Pradesh, from Pune to Pune, from Delhi to Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, and from Lucknow to Varanasi in Uttarahar Pradesh.
Urban routes are from Ahmedabad to Juhu in Gujarat, and Pune in Uttaragarh to Ahmedpur in Bihar.
This is a photo of the new Bharati yathayas bus, called a ‘bharati yas’, in Jaipur.
The bus company operates over 1,600 buses and has over 1 lakh drivers, according to the BHP, which is also the national head of public transport in India.
Some people in India are calling the company a “bharat yas” because it has the name “Bharat” on its logo.
But Vij says this is not a bad thing.
“People like the name, they like the idea of ‘Bharatriya’, the ‘B’, ‘Bhasha’ or ‘Bharti’,” he says, referring to the religious figurehead of the RSS.
He adds that “there is no doubt” that the company has an impact on the lives of people, and this “is a positive thing”.
Bharathiya Mahashasabhas also operates in Bihar, where it has been the official bus company of the ruling Bharati political party for the past 15 years.
Its buses ply across the state and serve hundreds of thousands of people.
One of its buses carrying the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is the son of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, is seen in Jaisalmer.
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