PALA: After days of roadshows and public meetings, campaigning for the Pala byelection ended on Friday, a day ahead of the scheduled date.
Political parties reached a consensus to end the campaigning a day early in view of the Samadhi day of spiritual leader and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, which falls on Saturday.
The last day saw high-octane campaigning by all the parties. Campaign vehicles of various parties decked up with party flags moved across the town, making last-minute efforts to woo voters.
Candidates toured the constituency in open vehicles. Short-corner meetings were held at important places to impress voters.
By 4pm, workers of the LDF, UDF and NDA converged in Pala town for a colourful roadshow. Traffic came to a grinding halt in the town as all the three fronts competed to showcase their strength. The roadshow, which was peaceful, ended by 6pm.
While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was the star campaigner for the LDF, actor and Kollam MLA Mukesh accompanied the front’s candidate Mani C Kappan in his open vehicle for the day-long campaigning. The campaigning for UDF candidate Jose Tom was led by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala who was accompanied by MPs N K Premachandran, Thomas Chazhikadan and MLAs Anwar Sadath and M Shamsudeen. Though a galaxy of KC(M) leaders accompanied Jose, the absence of party acting chairman P J Joseph came as an embarrassment for the Congress-led front.
Meanwhile, O Rajagopal MLA, BJP national executive member P K Krishnadas, state general Secretary K Surendran and Kerala Congress leader P C Thomas led the campaign for NDA candidate N Hari.
The Pala seat fell vacant after the demise of former Finance Minister and Kerala Congress(M) stalwart K M Mani.
Liquor outlets closed for three days
Liquor outlets in the constituency will remain closed for the next three days in view of the byelection and reopen only on September 24, the day after the polls. Though the liquor ban starts at 5pm on the last day of campaigning, the outlets will remain closed on Saturday in view of the Samadhi day.