As candidates hit campaign trail, political heat rises in Thrikkakara

J. Jacob, Independent candidate backed by the LDF campaigning in Palarivattom.  

The NGO Quarters Circle in Kakkanad is humming with activities at 9.15 a.m. The rising heat is obvious. Shops have just opened and workers are dusting showcases. Traffic is heavy. More than a score of Congress party workers have gathered under a tree, wearing white dhoti and stiffly starched shirts. Most of them are on their phones, either receiving or sending messages. But there is an air of expectation. P.K. Shamsu, a Congress party worker, says he is waiting for P.T. Thomas, sitting MLA and the party candidate contesting from Thrikkakara, who will be there to meet them any time now.

Their small talks centre around the prospects of the Assembly elections, the rising atmospheric temperature and the possibility of a spell of rain in the evening as Mr. Thomas alights from his car and briskly greets the party workers. Shop owners are greeting the candidate with big smiles and folded hands, without going out to greet with the normal handshake as COVID-19 precautions are a part of social behaviour now.

P.T. Thomas, UDF candidate in Thrikkakara, seeking the blessings of an elderly voter at Thammanam on Monday.

P.T. Thomas, UDF candidate in Thrikkakara, seeking the blessings of an elderly voter at Thammanam on Monday.  

But the warmth of the greetings is obvious as Mr. Thomas says hello to them all with a big smile, waving his hands. They are acknowledged and reciprocated. There is no wall between them, he says as he passes each shop.

At a burial ground

Dr. J. Jacob, the Independent candidate backed by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Thrikkakara, is in a more sombre mood. He is at the burial ground of the mosque in Padamugal where a funeral is on.

As the funeral prayers and ceremonies are over, he greets his friends and supporters. There are groups of supporters waiting to meet him as he moves from one group to another. Supporters try to draw him under the shades of the trees in the compound as he explains how he wishes to meet voters in person instead of relying on social media platforms.

He said he has a large support base, including a great number of regular patients who used to meet him as medical doctor, and the response had been very warm in Thrikkakara. He expressed confidence that his supporters would be there to see him through.

The day begins around 6.30 a.m. and lasts up to around midnight when the works of the day are reviewed. In between, breakfast and lunch breaks take the form of formalities. But they are never abandoned, he said.

A must

The day begins around 6 a.m. for S. Saji of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who feels that voters are now turning more to the BJP for an alternative.

BJP candidate S. Saji meets a voter at Marottichuvadu, near Edappally.

BJP candidate S. Saji meets a voter at Marottichuvadu, near Edappally.  

He said that the daily newspaper reading is a must before he embarks on his campaign. On Monday, he was greeted by a large gathering in Ponnurunni, near Vyttila, where the BJP has a campaign office.

He said that he had lunch on most days with party workers, mostly in their homes after getting on to the campaign trail before 7 a.m.

On same page

The exhaustive heat is having a big say in the way the candidates are trying to reach out to the voters in the constituency.

Despite their political differences, candidates begin their campaign between 6.30 a.m. and 7 a.m. every day and all of them said that they loved to meet their voters in person instead of through social media.

Key issues

Candidates are keen to see the problem of drinking water shortage addressed at the earliest. Mr. Thomas said that the pollution of the Kadambrayar was a big issue while Dr. Jacob said that public transport and health infrastructure would get big attention.

Mr. Saji said that the State had done little to establish a Kendriya Vidyalaya the Central government had promised to establish in Kakkanad. Kakkanad can also turn into a start-up centre for the State, he added.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:07:40 AM |

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