Rain clouds, Vishu shopping spree add to excitement
At 4 p.m., Althaf Mohammed, a head-load worker and resident of the communally sensitive area of Vellayil in the city, slipped into a red T-shirt on Tuesday.
His seven-year-old son, Latheef, wearing a read peak cap with a sickle and hammer on it, accompanies him at the family’s one-room tenement situated hardly a km from the north beach side. The duo gets on to a two-wheeler. Mr. Mohammed guns the motor as his son pulls out two plastic whistles from his pocket and pops one on his father’s moustachioed lips.
The two swing onto the road and join a convoy of young men in similar red shirts, some standing precariously on two-wheelers, waving party flags, and giving stiff competition to a loudspeaker blaring out a parody of the Tamil hit ‘Manmada rasa.’
On the last day of election campaigning, the district saw a frenzy of activity with candidates and party workers criss-crossing the entire distance since early morning.
The candidates, as was the practice in the past few days of campaigning, did not stop to ask for votes individually in their haste to cover the entire constituency before 6 p.m., by which time the public campaigning was to be concluded.
While the UDF fashioned its election songs and slogans against the “politics of violence,” and “communalism,” the rival LDF candidate, A. Vijayaraghavan, said his message was “direct and sincere,” and people knew that.
The Kozhikode beach stretch became the venue for road shows by supporters of various political parties, including a solitary scooter with an Aam Admi Party worker flourishing a broom.
The political rivals, however, had one common enemy — the heat. The campaigning saw a lull during mid-day, except for the presence of a few stout-hearted supporters in gaily painted vehicles in party colours.
At sharp 6 p.m., the campaign ground to a stop as the supporters grew scarce on the roads and the policemen heaved a sigh of relief and clambered onto waiting police buses.
In the evening, as rain clouds gathered, the attention shifted to S.M. Street, where shoppers were seen hurrying through their Vishu purchases.