Will the electors brave the heat wave to vote?

Candidates, party workers and supporters were finding it tough to reach out to voters because of the heat

April 19, 2024 08:56 pm | Updated April 20, 2024 10:32 am IST - MYSURU

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah drinking water to beat the heat during his campaign in Mysuru recently amidst the rising mercury levels.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah drinking water to beat the heat during his campaign in Mysuru recently amidst the rising mercury levels. | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

Will the voters brave the searing heat to cast their ballots for the elections in Mysuru, Mandya, and Chamarajnagar on April 26?

Even as the district administrations and election authorities in the districts are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to electors the message that their votes matter a lot and not to stay away from the poll, the scorching heat has become a worrying factor as there is no let up from the heat wave.

Despite light to moderate showers, there has been no respite from the heat.

As the polling booths across the region prepare to receive voters for the festival of democracy, the threat of a heat wave on the polling percentage cannot be ignored since the authorities have set an ambitious target to increase voting percentage and accordingly a lot of SVEEP drives for voter awareness have been happening for over a month.

Are the voters brave the heat and turn up to booths to vote? In case of a couple wet spells before the polling day, it will be a big respite, bringing down the temperatures.

According to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, Mysuru sizzled at 40.5 degree celsius while the maximum temperature of 41.5 degree celcius was recorded in Mandya. Chamarajanagar recorded 39.7 degree celsius. The maximum temperature was recorded during 8.30 a.m. of April 18 to 8.30 a.m. on April 19. The temperature is much higher in the North Karnataka region.

Mysuru, Mandya, and Chamarajnagar have been witnessing heat waves since the past few days and the sweltering heat has also affected normal life. Kodagu recorded 37.7 degrees celcius.

The candidates and the party workers and supporters were finding it tough to reach out to voters because of the heat. They are banking on tender coconut, buttermilk, fruit juice and ice-creams to beat the heat.

In some places, unmindful of the heat, the candidates, party workers and leaders are engaged in electioneering as the polling day nears. The people engaged in canvassing are starting early, before taking a break in the noon and again resuming after 4 pm.

In its heatwave bulletin, the KSNDMC has issued do’s and don’ts in view of the heat wave.

It has advised people to stay in cool places and use umbrellas during hot days. It is advised to wear loose cotton garments and a hat of cotton to avoid exposure to the sun. People have also been advised to avoid outdoor physical activity from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Do not expose yourself to direct sunlight or hot breeze,” it said in its bulletin, asking the people to drink a lot of water along with salted buttermilk and glucose water.

Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra said the administration has taken steps in view of the heat wave on the polling day. Plans have been made to provide shelter at the waiting area in booths that lack protective covering in the waiting zone where voters stand for their turn to vote, he added.

There were summer showers during last year’s assembly polls. Hoping for showers before polling day this time which can bring down the temperatures, the Deputy Commissioner said.

Mr Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, convener, Voters Awareness Movement (VAM), Mysuru, who was part of several voter awareness drives in Mysuru, said the heat wave can have an impact on the percentage. “It’s better for voters, especially senior citizens to go out early and vote to avoid the heat,” he said.

The administration must take certain extra precautions in the light of heat waves in the interest of voters, he suggested.

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