Kerala: A peek into war rooms on D-Day eve

A floor above the war room, members of the media committee, social media cell and administration were immersed in hectic work.
AKG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram 
AKG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram Photo|BP Deepu

INDIRA BHAVAN

On the eve of the state going to polls, Indira Bhavan, the Congress state headquarters, was abuzz with activities. Quite a contrast when compared with the 2021 assembly election days, when the party office wore a desolate look.

Congress state in-charge M M Hassan was at his office right from Thursday morning, often going into a huddle with senior party leaders. There was a steady stream of leaders entering and exiting the building.

Also, the war room set up at the first floor of Indira Bhavan saw executives busy on calls with leaders from all the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. The youngsters were monitored by senior Congress leader Manacaud Suresh.

Congress state in-charge M M Hassan with other leaders at Indira Bhavan
Congress state in-charge M M Hassan with other leaders at Indira Bhavan

Hassan told TNIE that the UDF had taken stringent steps to prevent undercurrents and bogus voting. “In three to four Lok Sabha seats, we are expecting tough contests,” he said.

Congress leader Pandalam Sudhakaran told TNIE that majority of the local leaders calling him from other constituencies were eager to know the trend in Thiruvananthapuram.

“The trend is very much visible; there is heavy anti-incumbency sentiment against the chief minister and LDF government,” he added.

A floor above the war room, members of the media committee, social media cell and administration were immersed in hectic work.

AKG Centre

The state headquarters of the CPM appeared deserted on Thursday. The reading room, usually a vibrant space, was vacant. The TV set was switched off.

“All the leaders are out campaigning,” said an AKG Centre staff member. “Several senior district leaders, who usually frequent the centre, have been absent since the election was announced. All have been busy with the tasks assigned to them.”

The accommodation rooms for state-level leaders, too, are vacant. “You will get to see the usual faces here only from Saturday,” the staffer said.

On Thursday, many district leaders were in Attingal constituency. Education Minister V Sivankutty, who is in charge of the district, also did not turn up at the centre. He was busy with the silent campaigning for Thiruvananthapuram LDF candidate Pannian Raveendran.

Mararji Bhavan

The atmosphere at the BJP state office in Thiruvananthapuram was tranquil on the eve of election day, a departure from the bustling campaign days when the building buzzed with activity.

Only a handful of workers lingered around in the grand lobby of the new building. Many had after a morning ceremony marking the 29th death anniversary of K G Marar, a foundational figure in the state unit.

Former BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan at Mararji Bhavan
Former BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan at Mararji Bhavan

The basement, which had been transformed into a war room, also looked deserted. There were more pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, national president JP Nadda and candidates than the number of party workers.

“Today, you will not see any crowd here. We have deployed all our local leaders and workers to bolster the silent campaig,” said BJP state secretary J R Padmakumar, who was overseeing final preparations.

“We want to ensure maximum participation of workers to increase the voting percentage above 80. The weather can play spoilsport. We, however, are in a winning mode.”

Padmakumar added that field workers were also tasked with monitoring instances of double voting. “We will be vigilant and lodge complaints when necessary,” he said.

National executive member P K Krishnadas and former state president Kummanam Rajasekharan were also present in the basement, engaging in discussions with party members. Prakash Javadekar, BJP’s Kerala prabhari (in-charge), had left earlier in compliance with the model code of conduct.

Padmakumar revealed that 37 internal departments operated in the basement. This included call centres, cells for manifesto drafting, statistical analysis units.

The party also had a legal team on standby to lodge complaints on model code violations. Two complaints were filed on Thursday, one in Thiruvananthapuram and another in Thrissur.

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