THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Being a politician is no easy feat. He/she is accountable for their words, actions, promises fulfilled and unfulfilled. Albeit, being a politician's wife or husband, daughter or son is no less. There is no bigger support for a politician than his/her own family members. Appreciation and encouragement from within cannot be equated to those received from the public. With the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, party candidates' families have stepped into the fray, backing up their man and vouching the party's assistance when elected. Express takes a look at the candidates whose families have proven to be their right hand.
C Divakaran ( LDF candidate for Thiruvananthapuram)
The family of C Divakaran is supporting in all ways to ensure that he has it easy this polling season. Extending emotional and moral support is what the family is up to at this crucial time. Pointing out that Divakaran is very familiar with the public and that she need not intervene directly to campaign for him, TV Hemalatha, Divakaran's wife, has said her focus has only been on reaching out to her immediate friends' circle. “The moral support has been immense. Whenever I call, all of them have been extending all kinds of support. And I am positive he will win the election with maximum votes.
The thrust is on ensuring a maximum majority,” says Hemalatha. Divakaran's son Dew Divakaran has also come home from Dubai to extend his support to his father. For him, it is all about being there for his family and helping out his father by rendering emotional support. “It is not just about campaigning. I am reaching out to my friends and relatives and connecting with them,” says Dew. He is not planning to go on an all-out campaign by being out on the campaign trail, saying there is enough support base to his father at the grass-root level. “I am doing what any son or daughter will do. My main focus is to provide all the support which is needed back at home and I am just trying to be part of the elections by extending my moral support,” says Dew.
Shashi Tharoor ( UDF candidate for Thiruvananthapuram)
It has been over a month since Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan, Shashi Tharoor's sister has been here in the capital, campaigning for her brother and extending emotional support. A writer and a voice-over talent based in California, Shobha says she has come home to offer Tharoor any kind of support he needs during the campaign and that she will be here until Kerala goes to the polls. Apart from using her professional talents to put information about Tharoor out on social media, she is also connecting with the voter base, trying to remind people to vote and dispel any kind of misinformation that is being put out against Tharoor.
“As a family member, I have access to him and I have been sharing information that requires his attention. Apart from it, I go to the neighbourhood, talk to people and potential voters and answer their questions. Sometimes people are apathetic about getting out and casting their votes. So I also remind people about the value of the power of a vote,” says Shobha. She has also given voice and created the scripts for three of the campaign videos of Tharoor. “I want the people to see how my brother is different from other candidates. He will get to ensure that the needs of the constituency are heard in the Parliament,” she says. As a sister, she is on her toes to ensure that Tharoor has his meals and sleeps on time.
Sobha Surendran (BJP candidate for Attingal)
Keeping social media abuzz with the campaign is what youngster Harilal Krishna, Sobha Surendran's son is up to. Campaigning on social media and reaching out to the voter base through new media is pivotal. An engineering student at IIT Delhi, Harilal has been back home for the past few days, campaigning ardently on social media. Having been part of the online campaigns even before he came home, the thrust now is to project the policies and vision of his mother, dispel misinformation and reach out to the young voter base. For someone who has been part of the campaigning process during the last elections, Harilal knows the ins and outs and now.
“Attingal is more of a rural pocket. But internet penetration is high. And there is a need to have a good campaign on social media because of the misinformation being spread. I am adept at the technological side so I focus on social media,” says Harilal, a chemical engineering student. “The response has been immensely positive and we are getting enough support from the young community. I am very proud that my mother is emerging as a strong woman leader from a community which is rooted in patriarchal ideals. She has to face so much abuse in social media and as a son it does hurt me. But my mother is strong and is handling it all in a positive manner,” says Harilal who will be around for a month campaigning fervently for his mother.
Adoor Prakash ( UDF candidate for Attingal)
For Jayasree Prakash, Adoor Prakash's wife, the elections are nothing new. Having been ardently campaigning for a long time, this election too will repeat the same story. “The thrust is on showcasing the developments in Konni and letting voters know that the success will be replicated at Attingal as well,” says Jayasree. “Normally I would have been on the ground, campaigning. But a few health issues and pre-occupations back home have kept me away from entering the campaigning trail. In Konni, I am familiar with almost everyone. But Attingal is new.
This time I will be focussing only on our relatives and reaching out to their immediate neighbourhood. Since it is a new constituency, I am also figuring out how to reach out to the voters," she says. Reminiscing her earlier campaigning strategy, she says "Earlier, I used to get out early in the morning and the party workers would take me along to all the houses. The days would be jam-packed with events. But now, with an ailing health, it is not feasible. So I will be solely going to the places suggested by my husband,” she says.