Sun, style and strategy: Sartorial choices of Lok Sabha candidates in Kerala on fleek

When you imagine a politician in Kerala, the first image that comes to mind would be someone wearing a stiff white cotton shirt and the evergreen mundu.
UDF candidate Hibi Eden greeting party workers at the grand finale of campaigning in front of the Town Hall on Wednesday.
UDF candidate Hibi Eden greeting party workers at the grand finale of campaigning in front of the Town Hall on Wednesday.(Photo | A Sanesh, EPS)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the mercury climbs, so does the style quotient on the campaign trail. From seasoned veterans to fresh faces, candidates are shaking up their wardrobe and hair care routines to beat the blazing sun and win over voters.

Some candidates stick to their signature style no matter the weather. Take the Vadakara LDF candidate K K Shailaja, whose crisp cotton sarees and infectious smile can cool down the hottest of days.

When you imagine a politician in Kerala, the first image that comes to mind would be someone wearing a stiff white cotton shirt and the evergreen mundu. Though times have changed, some remain the same when it comes to the campaign trail.

The majority of them are UDF candidates. They include UDF Kasaragod candidate Rajmohan Unnithan, Kannur candidate K Sudhakaran, Kozhikode candidate M K Raghavan, Thrissur candidate K Muraleedharan, Alappuzha candidate K C Venugopal and Mavelikkara candidate Kodikkunnil Suresh. LDF's Panniyan Raveendran is not to be ignored in his all time simple attire and long hair. To an extent, this saves them the trouble of choosing what to wear. "Whether it is an election or not, white cotton shirts are what I choose any day," said K C Venugopal.

UDF candidate Hibi Eden greeting party workers at the grand finale of campaigning in front of the Town Hall on Wednesday.
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Another group of candidates are the kurtawalas. Elections have made them choose cotton kurtas over anything else. Thiruvananthapuram UDF candidate Shashi Tharoor, NDA candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Pathanamthitta LDF candidate Thomas Isaac come under this category. Kollam NDA candidate K Krishnakumar wears cotton kurtas all day for campaigns.

"I wear cotton kurtas from Fabindia and try to have a change twice a day but it doesn't usually happen. Also in politics, changing more times can sometimes do more bad than good. However, if I get to change also, I immediately sweat. It's the heat of the campaign, that's fine," he said.

Shafi Parambil, the Vadakara UDF candidate, can be seen in all kinds of clothes. One day he pulls off the chic young candidate in shirts and jeans, the next day he will be in white cotton shirts and mundu. Never does he miss wearing snazzy printed shirts and jeans and spreading his vibrancy into youth groups.

From plain to printed, Alappuzha LDF candidate A M Arif is spiffy in linen shirts for campaigns. "To escape the heat, the best is wearing linen shirts and mundu. I wear only linen for campaigns," said Arif.

UDF candidate Hibi Eden greeting party workers at the grand finale of campaigning in front of the Town Hall on Wednesday.
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NDA candidates Niveditha Subramaniam of Ponnani and Sobha Surendran of Alappuzha are saree folks.

"Cotton saree is a saviour in this weather, I avoid all other materials and try to change twice a day usually it doesn't happen but when I do, it's truly a refreshment and gives energy for the second half of the day," said Niveditha Subramaniam.

Ernakulam LDF candidate K J Shine is usually seen in cotton sarees or set mundu but prefers salwar kameez for campaigns. "During the first phase, I used to try and wear saree or set mundu but gradually I prefer salwar kameez to other clothing," said Shine.

Battling hair loss amid the grueling campaign schedule, candidates like Krishnakumar and Niveditha Subramaniam prioritize haircare, finding time for weekly oiling sessions. "Heavy hair loss is a factor while campaigning in this weather, you look haggard after campaigning but I try to oil my hair weekly," said Niveditha Subramaniam.

Anna Linda keeps it real, admitting that election season leaves little time for hair and skincare routines. "There is no time to take care of the hair and skin during election time, so he leaves it that way," she said about Hibi Eden's routine.

The sartorial choices of candidates in this weather have been on fleek. From cotton classics to chic prints, they have made every effort to shine bright under the scorching sun.

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