Vadakara's UDF candidate, Shafi Parambil sets new standards for connecting with voters

From as early as 3.30 in the morning to late-night campaigns, the people of Vadakara, especially women and children make a vibrant audience for Shafi's campaigns.
UDF candidate Shafi Parambil addressing crowd at Puravoor near Perambra in 
the early hours of Friday.
UDF candidate Shafi Parambil addressing crowd at Puravoor near Perambra in the early hours of Friday.Express.

VADAKARA: It was past 3.30 in the morning when Shafi Parambil, the UDF candidate in Vadakara, reached Puravoor in Perambra as part of his campaign. The crowd, including women and children, was impatiently waiting for him for over six hours. Shafi spoke without using mike as there is a ban on use of public address system after 10pm.

“It has almost become a routine for Shafi to wind up campaigning late in the night. Usually, his programmes end around 2am. But Perambra assembly segment broke all records,” says Ubaid Vazhayil, a block committee member of the Congress.

“There is visible enthusiasm, particularly among the youth and women. I have never seen such a campaign in my political career,” he says.

The scene was not different in Naduvathur South where the candidate was scheduled to have his lunch. There was a delay of more than four hours. “Please do not nurture any ill feeling towards us. Shafi is late because there are many unscheduled receptions on the way. People are waylaying his vehicle and asking him to alight at various points,” pleaded Moosa Kothambra, who was one among the persons deputed to speak till the candidate comes.

Shafi arrives at the venue at 5pm for a rousing reception. He began his speech seeking pardon for the delay. “The fact that this crowd waited for me for long hours proves that no amount of false propaganda will work in Vadakara,” he said. Raised in the Oommen Chandy school of politics, Shafi has an uncanny ability to mingle with the people.

“Give him the mobile phone. That’s what he wants,” he told a woman who was desperately trying to control a crying kid and the crowd burst into laughter.

The IUML workers were seen running through the road with large green flags of the party with a vengeance. Active presence of the IUML workers was seen at all parts of Vadakara.

“I don’t want to win election by raising false allegations. I am not a person who would stoop to any level to win polls. We have enough and more political things to speak against the LDF,” said Shafi, ostensibly referring to the cyber-attack against the rival candidate.

UDF speakers were anxious to distance themselves from the ongoing controversy, which has the potential to adversely affect Shafi’s electoral fortunes.

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