Kerala

Weather too hot for politicians

They have to sweat it out for six weeks for the April 23 Lok Sabha polls

Poll candidates, campaigners and party cadres will have to literally sweat it out for six weeks in the unprecedented summer which has already brought in heat waves and sun strokes, for the April 23 Lok Sabha polling in Kerala.

In a sense, the Election Commission (EC), which announced a seven-phase polling schedule across the nation, has saved Kerala from the sweltering experience of a multi-phased polling by ordering the election in all the 20 constituencies on a single day. The EC has included Kerala among the States going to the polls in the third phase.

And, the relatively short campaign time — six weeks from now to April 21, when campaigning will end — is a blessing in disguise for the campaigners as well as the voters. People will be spared of the heat, sound and dust of a longer campaign time.

All the three political formations — the Left Democratic Front (LDF), United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA0 — have been gearing up for the election for months now and are all fairly prepared.

The LDF could formally announce its candidates for all the 20 constituencies two days ahead of the EC’s poll schedule. It was a little easy for the LDF as the two leading parties in the coalition, the CPI(M) and CPI, decided to share the seats among themselves without leaving a single seat for any of the other allies. None of the junior partners in the LDF could effectively challenge the decision. The two communist parties shared the seats between themselves in a ratio of 4:1, with the CPI(M) taking away the biggest pie.

The Congress-led UDF had almost always in the past Lok Sabha and Assembly elections been the last to come out with the full list of candidates because of the fissures within the Congress and the high-velocity bargaining by its allies. However, the faction feud within the Congress is relatively mellowed this time around. And, the No. 2 party in the alliance, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), has already announced its candidates for both the seats it has been assigned — Ponnani and Malappuram. As things stand now, the Congress is expected to announce its list later this week.

As for the BJP-led NDA, the candidates’ list is likely to come a bit late. This is because of the centralised nature of its candidate selection, bickering among the allies and disunity within the State leadership. The NDA, which had been an also-ran all these parliamentary elections, is a serious contender this time. It has two big advantages: a surefire campaign theme—the Sabarimala issue—and an unambiguous Prime Ministerial candidate.

The campaign is going to be hot, and the summer hotter.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:44:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/weather-too-hot-for-politicians/article26488462.ece

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