The otherwise quiet backwaters around Kochi resounded with slogans and songs seeking people’s votes for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday morning. On the last day of campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala this year, BJP candidate A.N. Radhakrishnan’s campaign team went around the backwaters canvassing voters on the islands around Kochi.
Mr. Radhakrishnan himself was on the campaign boat for a part of the journey, shaking hands with fishermen on the backwaters who had come out on their coracles for work in the morning. He said the party decided to campaign on a boat as boat travel was a lifeline for the islands.
“Another big issue in the islands is potable water. Women in the islands have to stand in queues from 2 a.m. onwards to get some water. There has to be a solution for this,” he said.
What the party is really pushing in its manifesto for the elections here this year is changes to the Coastal Zone Regulation laws. “If elected, we will bring about reform in the Coastal Zone Regulation law within three months. While there are 24-storey buildings along the coast on one side, poor people are not allowed to build a small house,” he said. The issue does, indeed, seem to strike a chord with voters. As Mr. Radhakrishnan disembarked at the High Court boat jetty, he was approached by a voter who sought relief to the 50-metre limit for construction activities along the coast. “I’m a Congress supporter. But if you can get this done, I will vote for you,” he told Mr. Radhakrishnan.
The party is banking on the ‘Modi wave’ to carry them across the finish line. “This campaign has been different from other years. Wherever I went, I was warmly received by people who are not traditionally BJP supporters, but will vote for us this time,” said Mr. Radhakrishnan.