If turnout is an indicator of their electoral fortunes, major candidates in the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency have little room for concern.
As the electioneering in the constituency enters its hectic and high-pitched phase, the candidates’ local-level campaign managers organise their tours to the accompaniment of percussions and ear-splitting firecrackers.
The high-decibel campaign in the constituency is at full throttle with the main rivals, CPI(M)’s P.K. Sreemathy and Congress’s K. Sudhakaran, the same rivals who had fought here in the 2014 election, rushing from one venue to another in their specially arranged open vehicles to cover as many areas as possible. Both the fronts have left nothing to chance as the stakes are high.
The meticulously planned LDF campaign is scheduled to save the candidate, party workers and the public from scorching summer heat. The daily routine of Ms. Sreemathy comprises a session from 8.30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and another from 3 p.m. to 8.30 p.m..
At Aanavalappu in the Azhikode Assembly constituency, her afternoon session has been delayed by five minutes. But the venue, a shaded coconut grove, is already teeming with supporters. Wherever she goes, Ms. Sreemathy lists out various development programmes and welfare schemes of the LDF government in the State.
James Mathew, MLA, who accompanied her in the Azhikode segment, said the minority communities were supporting the LDF this time. Mr. Sudhakaran’s alleged “I will go with the BJP” statement picked from a TV channel interview last year is being widely circulated on the social media platforms by the LDF workers.
The UDF campaigners counter the charge saying that in the interview Mr. Sudhakaran categorically says that “I have not even thought about going to the BJP as my political principles are affiliated to the Congress.”
At Parapram, near Pinarayi, a CPI(M) pocket borough, Mr. Sudhakaran tells a gathering that Narendra Modi, if re-elected will end democracy and secularism.
At nearby Chirakkuni, another CPI(M) stronghold, his refrain is political violence. “As the CPI(M) is eliminating its rivals we have to remove such forces from the democratic arena,” he says.
Like Ms. Sreemathy and Mr. Sudhakaran, BJP candidate C.K. Padmanabhan is a native of Kannur and a familiar political figure. The BJP leader in his campaign meetings highlights the achievements of the Modi government. The BJP occupies a distant third in the constituency. But party workers hope that his personal charm will win him votes.