Karnataka polls: Scorching sun makes contestants campaign in cooler hours

Rising mercury this summer has made the contestants opt for cooler hours for their campaign for the May 05 Assembly Elections in Karnataka.

Bangalore: Rising mercury this summer has made the contestants opt for cooler hours for their campaign for the May 05 Assembly Elections in Karnataka.

Many contestants have changed their strategies, rescheduling their canvassing for the early or later part of the day and opting for campaigning in shifts. It is either breakfast meetings or much later after sunset when people are ready to unwind and more receptive to listen to them.

A tour of core Bangalore showed not much heat and dust had been raised by candidates or their followers so far.

Maridevaru, Congress candidate from Ramanagara segment who is taking on former chief minister and JD(S) state president Kumaraswamy, prefers door-to-door campaigns till late night and conducts group meetings in the morning hours.

According to a close associate of Maridevaru, every minute is precious as he (Maridevaru) is contesting against a strong candidate. The scorching sun has become a problem during field visits, he said.

A supporter and aide of Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, sitting BJP MLA from Malleswaram who has sought re-election, said his leader preferred breakfast meetings with focus groups in the constituency.

The target audience of such meetings includes businessmen, religious heads, resident welfare associations and youth groups.

Ashwath, a fitness freak and a regular jogger, utilises his jogging time to familiarise himself with the public, shaking hands with walkers and senior citizens as part of his poll campaign, he said. Former minister Shobha Karandlaje, contesting from
Rajajinagar in Bangalore as a candidate of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa-led Karnataka Janata Party, is particular about finishing the morning round of door-to-door campaign by 11 am and sits at her party office to attend to work there.

She resumes campaign after 4 pm and goes on till 7.30 pm before heading home.

Many candidates in the old Mysore region, where temperature this summer has been scaling new heights, have resorted to morning and evening shifts of campaign.

For LD Ravi, the Congress candidate contesting from Melukote who is a close aide of former union minister and veteran actor MH Ambareesh, campaigning starts at 6 am.

"Afternoons are chalking out strategies with my party workers", he says.

However, extreme weather is not new for candidates in the coastal belt where the temperature normally ranges between 33 degrees and 38 degrees Celsius.

But this time around, they are facing an altogether different problem, shortage of tender coconuts used aplenty to quench the thirst of party workers.

"The supply of coconuts from Kerala and Uttara Kannada has slumped at a time when the demand is high,” said Gangadhara Bhat, a BJP worker.

Reports from Raichur in north Karnataka said though the temperature there has touched 40 degrees Celsius, many candidates go on with the campaigning till noon.

But the soaring mercury is posing a problem for candidates to hold public meetings, forcing them to ensure shamiana facility and drinking water lest people suffer sun stroke.

A senior official at the meteorological department here says there is likely to be a status quo in the temperature across the State through April and early May.

Unseasonal showers, which the State witnessed during February, and dry spells following it are the reasons for the unusual rise in mercury levels this summer.

The temperature might come down by a few degrees if the State receives rain in April-end or in the beginning of May, the official said.


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