On the campaign trail, the lean, tall and a-little-shy young man is polite to a fault. His political pedigree does not weigh him down. In spite of the legacy of his well-known father, whose death last October has brought him on the political centre-stage, and a decent education, Anoop Jacob has the looks and attitude of a local lad.
And the Piravom electorate, women mostly, love him for that.
On Monday, as the March sun burns up in the sky, Anoop struggles hard to keep up with a hectic candidate's tour in Mulanthurthy panchayat. He needs to be on the go until sundown. As the candidate's motorcade snakes through a series of rubber plantations at Arakkunnam, there is a little reception in front of a house.
There are hardly a dozen people, apart from the young accompanying team of campaigners. After a brief speech introducing himself he climbs down from the campaign vehicle. The older women embrace him and the younger ones give him handshakes and smiles. He does not look and behave like a candidate. He is their son and brother. He is just a local lad seeking their blessings.
He finishes off this five-minute meeting with a confident promise: “Next time around, I will come with water.” That promise goes straight into the women's heart—drinking water is hard to come by in this area. He had been here before during his more than four months' electioneering.
Riding with Jose K. Mani, MP, (another “minister's son”) in the campaign vehicle, Anoop moves to the next reception. “I come to you as your brother and your friend. I am not for the power and airs of a minister,” he says. To touch a sympathetic chord in the audience, he makes a reference to his late father, T.M. Jacob.
The people are aware that Anoop Jacob is a greenhorn politician and that he is inexperienced in public life. But he is young and enthusiastic. And, if he wins this byelection in Piravom, they know, Anoop will be riding a ‘State car.' Which means: he will be able to keep his promises.