A Quietly Confident Sampath on Familiar Ground Again
It’s around 12 noon. A sizeable crowd of people belonging to all ages was listening to the speech of a local CITU leader prior to the arrival of LDF candidate of Attingal Lok Sabha constituency A Sampath at Muthuvila junction in Attingal.
The speaker Kallara Madhu was touching upon a host of issues in his speech ranging from bank privatisation to the steep rise in rice price and is also trying to convince the audience that another term for the UPA Government would be quite ‘unbearable’ for them.
Madhu wound up his address as an announcement-cum-pilot vehicle of LDF candidate and sitting MP Dr A Sampath rolled gently to a halt at the tri-junction. Minutes later, the candidate arrived on an open campaign vehicle to be surrounded by the jubilant crowd.
Fifty-one-year-old Sampath, who appeared in his usual cool, took the mike and spoke in his characteristic sober tone. He speech was brief with a confident tone and it was also a formal affair, quite different from the ‘vote for me’ appeal of other candidates.
“Dear all, choose the Left for a corrective force at the Centre,” he said. After a few reminders on the dangers of the UPA and the NDA, he summed up thus: “Be alert, don’t be cheated by a namesake candidate. Forget the name, vote for our symbol ‘hammer, sickle and star’”. It seemed the two-time MP was a bit concerned over ‘Sambath Anilkumar’, a namesake who had filed nomination as an Independent in the Attingal constituency.
Next, it was the local party workers’ turn to present flowers, ribbons and garlands to their dear leader. It all lasted for around 15 minutes and Sampath left for his next destination.
At Parappil, some five km away from Muthuvila and a CPM stronghold, a larger crowd was waiting for Sampath. His address was again brief and plain: “I appeal, cast your vote against corruption and black money, extremism and communalism, atrocities against women and price rise. I remind you, I am Dr A Sampath, fourth name on the voting machine,” he concluded.
But here, as different from other spots, the candidate alighted from the vehicle following a request from Express lensman. It was a pleasant surprise for the crowd, especially the women, who flocked to shake hands with the leader. Unexpectedly, the candidate then walked towards three elderly women who were sitting under a shade of a tree watching the proceedings. Before the surprised trio could rise to their feet, he kneeled down, held their hands and asked: “Are you fine?” With beaming smiles, the trio nodded their heads almost simultaneously.
The candidate then walked to the vehicle and the convoy left for Pulippara, the next campaign spot. As the crowd slowly dispersed, the old women were still waiting till the last vehicle disappeared from their sight.
“Whom would you vote?” we asked one of them. “For the red flag, what else?” pat came the reply. “After all, he’s Comrade Anirudhan’s son,” she added with a sparkle in her eyes.