With the maximum temperature having touched 40 degree Celsius in the last three days, candidates campaigning in open jeeps are having a tough time.

As the campaigning fervour hits a new pitch in the district ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, candidates and their supporters are forced to bear the brunt of the oppressive heat. “The last few days have been so hot that it has been like getting fried in oil,” says Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate V. Velusamy, who has been canvassing in villages on the city outskirts at present.

With the maximum temperature having touched 40 degree Celsius in the last three days, candidates campaigning in open jeeps are having a tough time. “We schedule our campaigns in such a way that we start as early as 7.30 a.m. and wind up our campaign by 12.30 p.m. to avoid the scorching afternoon sun,” says R. Gopalakrishnan, the candidate of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Party workers often stock cans of water in their vehicles. CPI (M) candidate B. Vikraman says since he is visiting more than 25 to 30 places every day to address people, he maintains a steady intake of fluids.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate M. Kamacis says the open vehicle they travelled in during the campaign is being followed by an empty car in which the functionaries take rest if they get too fatigued under the hot sun.

Battling the heat during political meetings, however, poses a different challenge. Since the meetings are often organised in open grounds, party cadres are forced to wait for hours together under the scorching sun for their leaders and candidates to arrive.

“Even though it is possible to erect temporary roofs at a few spots in the grounds, the cadres will all try to congregate under the shade which will lead to the grounds looking empty during the main event,” a party cadre explains.

A few parties distribute water and buttermilk to the cadres and supporters during their rallies. The recent AIADMK meeting on the Ring Road saw the distribution of paraphernalia such as caps and paper fans bearing the party symbol to the cadres to beat the heat.

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