NDA candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar braves scorching heat in final campaign push

A moderate crowd welcomed him at Pettah while only a small group turned up in Vettukad, Thiruvananthapuram.
BJP workers welcome Rajeev Chandrasekhar with shawls at Aksharaveedhi Nagar 
in Pettah.
BJP workers welcome Rajeev Chandrasekhar with shawls at Aksharaveedhi Nagar in Pettah. Express| Vincent Pulickal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The temperature is hovering around 36 degrees Celsius on a sunny summer day. When everyone wants to seek refuge from the sun, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the NDA candidate in Thiruvananthapuram, was busy meeting voters in the coastal areas of the constituency as the election campaign entered the last lap.

At Pettah Aksharaveedhi Nagar everything was ready to welcome the candidate. The lane was decorated with festoons and BJP flags. Party workers were busy distributing shawls to supporters. A moderate crowd comprising elderly persons, women and children are waiting for the arrival of their candidate from 11.30am.

In the wards Chakai and Pettah, usually known as strongholds of the Left, the BJP is slowly trying to gain foothold. “We are now trying to get stronger than the CPM. They have the upper hand now,” said Prem Kumar, West mandalam secretary of BJP. When the pilot vehicle of the campaign cavalcade approaches from a distance the workers are elated. However, to everyone’s surprise it was rival candidate Shashi Tharoor who came that way. Sensing the surprise on the face of the BJP workers, Tharoor waved at the people gathered there.

BJP workers welcome Rajeev Chandrasekhar with shawls at Aksharaveedhi Nagar 
in Pettah.
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An elderly person, Pratapan who was also in the crowd watching Tharoor’s convoy, said this time he would vote for BJP. “I had been voting for Tharoor for the last three parliamentary elections. But what did he do for the constituency in the past 15 years? We need a change. Even the Christian community members are going to vote for Rajeev Chandrasekhar this time. When I went to the treasury to get my pension, one of my acquaintances who happened to be a member of Christian community, told me that he would vote for the BJP,” he said.

After the long wait, around 12.10pm,the candidate arrives in a fleet of vehicles. Amid the bursting of crackers and receiving garlands and ponnada, Rajeev reminds each of them the necessity of a BJP win to ensure ‘Modi’s Guarantee.’ “BJP is offering the future generation the guarantee for education and the constituency’s development. My victory is important,” said Rajeev. Requesting everyone to vote for him he thanks for the reception. As the candidate jump onto the jeep, the fleet started rolling again.

With the band players moving in the front row followed by bike-borne workers, the crowd of BJP workers carrying party flags move ahead as the pilot vehicle announces the arrival of the candidate. The campaign vehicles are on their way to Pettah junction and from there to Chakai. At the Madhavapuram junction, seeing Rajeev, the street vendors welcome the candidate with folded hands.

BJP workers welcome Rajeev Chandrasekhar with shawls at Aksharaveedhi Nagar 
in Pettah.
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The campaign fleet then moved to Vettukad, one of the wards where a considerable number of Christian members reside. As the atmosphere became hotter, the streets look deserted. This was also a sign of the low influence the BJP has in the Christian majority area where a lot of Left and Congress election committee offices were seen. The campaign vehicles turned to the bylanes and at one point there was a small group of people waiting for him. A girl presented Rajeev the idol of Holy Trinity. Kannanthura also gave him a warm welcome.

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