From hills to coast, poll zeal at peak

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Final round of campaigning on at Attingal Lok Sabha constituency

Traversing the entire stretch of the Attingal constituency, which stretches from the coast on the one side to the hills on the other, has thrown up quite a few challenges for the candidates in the past few weeks. Now, it is a final scramble to reach the corners of the vast constituency that they have not yet managed to reach, for the perception of ignoring one area or the other will be to their peril.

Among the campaign managers, the ones belonging to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) sounded most confident, having achieved all that they targeted initially. A.C. Sampath, the sitting MP, had the advantage of an early start, since there was no confusion in candidate selection. The front has already completed its major public meetings with top leaders, including Sitaram Yechury and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

“Our candidate has covered all corners of the constituency. The campaign squads have completed five rounds of house visits, with no single area remaining to be covered. Now, we have begun with rallies and meetings in all the 129 local committees in the constituency, with State leaders participating. On Monday, the round of rallies began with Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan inaugurating one. In the coming days, till April 19, other State leaders and Ministers would be participating in these rallies. The final two days are reserved for mass squad works in each booth, with several members participating. The candidate will also be going to major institutions in the constituency, like KINFRA (Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) and cashew nut factories, and also canvas votes individually,” says Ramu, one of the CPI(M)’s campaign managers in Attingal.

United Democratic Front’s candidate Adoor Prakash might have begun late, but his energetic campaign has been marked by participation of a large number of local party workers in each area. Owing to the late start, he has a few more places left to cover, including Vakkom, Pulimath, Kallara, and the coastal areas of Chirayinkeezh.

Open jeep campaign

“The candidate’s open jeep campaigning will continue till April 19, by when all the remaining areas will be covered. Senior Congress leader A.K. Antony will be addressing a large public meeting of April 20. Some other leaders such as Sachin Pilot or Manmohan Singh might be coming to Attingal too, but it has not been confirmed yet. The party workers in each area will continue the house-to-house campaigns over the next few days. Once he is done with the open jeep campaigning, Adoor Prakash will be meeting voters individually,” says Karakulam Krishna Pillai, former president of District Congress Committee.

For the Bharatiya Janata Party workers in the Attingal constituency, Nirmala Sitharaman’s public meeting at the Mamom ground on Monday evening has provided much-needed confidence, says P. Sudheer, campaign in-charge of the BJP. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Shobha Surendran too arrived late in the campaign trail, but has made up for it, managing to cover almost the entire length and breadth of the constituency.

“Now, our focus is on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting on April 18, when all the workers from the constituency will head to the capital city for a show of strength. We have already completed five rounds of house-to-house campaigning. We will shift towards smaller public meetings and family meetings from April 19 onwards,” says Mr. Sudheer.

The ‘Kottikkalasam’ on the final day might be decentralised across all the Assembly constituencies. It is still not clear whether any activity will be allowed at Kacheri Junction, the usual ‘Kottikkalasam’ venue of the constituency, as it has led to huge traffic snarls in previous years.

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