With less than a fortnight left for the campaign for Parliamentary elections and Assembly by-polls in the State, candidates of political parties are literally sweating it out in the searing heat as they criss-cross their constituencies in the central region.
While the mercury crossed 40 degree Celsius in Tiruchi on Monday, it touched 42 degree Celsius in Karur. Thanjavur was relatively better at 38 degree Celsius.
The Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, has forecast that the maximum temperature will be about 2-4 degrees above normal over the next couple of days over interior Tamil Nadu including Tiruchi and Karur.
In recent years, the maximum temperature in Tiruchi has been consistently hovering above 40 degree Celsius during April, and candidates and party workers appear to be in for some tough time ahead.
In an attempt to beat the heat, candidates have adopted various strategies. Most of them start the campaign early in the day — around 7 a.m. — even though it is not be much to the liking of the electorate. They wind up the forenoon session by 11 a.m. before resuming the campaign after 4 p.m.
Party workers feel that campaigning early in the morning has inherent disadvantages as not many voters appreciate candidates seeking votes so early in the day with drums and music blaring.
DMDK candidate for Tiruchi V. Elangovan has erected a canopy over his campaign vehicle for some cover. Sarubala R. Tondaiman of AMMK was seen campaigning in the city on Tuesday with her head covered with a wet towel.
“The dry weather condition has indeed been posing a challenge. Candidates and workers find it tough to campaign for long hours and are forced to restrict the campaign hours. But Lok Sabha constituencies are spread over a vast area and it is difficult for candidates to cover all areas within such a short time,” said R. Suresh, city secretary, Communist Party of India.
The time available for campaign this election is already short and the weather has constricted it further, he added.
With the Election Commission apparently tightening its vigil on expenses incurred by them, candidates also have to restrict the number of vehicles accompanying them.
Nevertheless, as an officebearer of a political party observed, candidates have no choice but to brave the weather as they have to cover all areas in the constituency at least once and cannot afford to ignore any section of the electorate.