CUTTACK: Adding to the political heat, which has intensified with the poll dates inching closer, rise in mercury levels since the last few days has thrown campaign plans out of gear for candidates of different political parties.
With temperature hovering above 38 degree Celsius in the district, electioneering has turned out to be an arduous task for candidates and their supporters. Unlike other parts of the State where the poll frenzy has spilled out on the streets, candidates of Cuttack are forced to remain indoors in the daytime to escape the scorching sun.
They are seen campaigning either during the morning or evening. Even the campaigning vehicles of political parties are remaining off the roads during the daytime.
City unit Congress president Mohammad Moquim, who is contesting from Barabati-Cuttack Assembly segment, said they were forced to change the campaigning time because of the severe heat wave. “We are now campaigning in two phases from 8 am to 12 noon and from 4 pm to 10 pm in the evening everyday,” he said.
District president of BJD and the ruling party candidate for Barabati-Cuttack Debashis Samantaray also prefers campaigning during morning hours and after 5 pm. “We start our campaign at 7 am and take a break at 11.30 am. The electioneering is again resumed after 5 pm,” said Samantaray.
The morning and evening hours are the ideal time for campaigning in this heat, said BJP candidate from the seat Samir Dey. “Starting the campaign by 6 am or 7 am in the morning and staying indoors between 11 am and 4 pm is the best way to beat the heat,” said Dey.
Independent candidate and transgender Sital said campaigning in this weather is almost like a punishment for all politicians who are used to living in air-conditioned facilities. However, she said, “The prevailing heat wave condition doesn’t bother me. I am taking this opportunity to woo voters by providing them water during the peak hours of the day.”
To cope with the merciless heat, many candidates said they have switched to vegetarian diet and reduced their intake of meat.Cuttack goes to polls in the third phase on April 23.