The sweltering heat is threatening to take the wind out of their campaigning, but candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi are out there, keeping their cool. Here's how: endless glasses of nimbu-paani, lassi, glucose water and, sometimes, just plain H2O!
Although most candidates IANS spoke to initially dismissed the idea that they needed heat busters, some prodding did manage to wheedle out a few cooling secrets.
"I don't need any heat busters as I am a son of the soil and am used to working in the sun and dust. I don't take any special precautions and have been meeting people in the scorching heat," J P Aggarwal, the Congress candidate from Northeast Delhi, told IANS.
However, a close aide said Aggarwal's family is taking special care of his health as the mercury is shooting past 40 degrees Celsius every other day.
"He takes small portions of homemade refreshments like fruit chat, sprouts, poha and drinks like aam panah, nimbu-paani and coconut water. Glucose water and energy drinks are always there in his vehicle during campaigning," said wife Sarita Aggarwal.
Congress candidate Kapil Sibal, who is the sitting MP from the Chandni Chowk constituency, simply says he drinks ample amounts of water to beat the heat.
A close aide, who accompanies him on all his campaigns, told IANS, "At times he also has lemonade or juice, but that depends on whether somebody is offering it to him. Otherwise we only carry water with us."
Vijender Gupta, the BJP candidate from the same constituency, also banks on water to keep him going during the campaign trails. He also relies on 'thandai', a cooling milk- based drink flavoured with cardamom and nuts.
A close confidant said because of the extreme heat, there is no campaigning in the afternoon. "So between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Guptaji has meetings with party workers. From 5 p.m. onwards, he starts his campaigning once again."
For Vijay Goel, a veteran in Delhi's politics who is contesting for the BJP from New Delhi, nimbu-pani is the ultimate heat buster. His rival and union minister Ajay Maken of the Congress remains on a liquid diet during campaigning.
Radhika, Maken's wife, said, "We are taking measures to prevent dehydration. He always carries water, nimbu-pani and lassi with him to prevent water loss in this sultry summer. He eats wherever party workers offer food to him."
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's son and MP Sandeep Dikshit, who is contesting from East Delhi, also swears by nimbu-paani. "Sandeepji prefers nimbu-paani while campaigning. Besides that, he takes orange and chana-murmura, which is in his car most of the time," a close aide said.
One candidate who is categorical about not taking any cooling drink is South Delhi contestant Ramesh Kumar, a first timer, who is learning the ropes from his better-known brother Sajjan Kumar.
"I do not have any problem in facing the heat. I don't take any nimbu-paani or glucose."
Some contestants also give credit to sports for their stamina. Like former cricketer-turned-politician Chetan Chauhan. "I am used to playing in heat and sun. These things don't affect me. My body and my skin are all right," dismisses Chauhan, the BJP candidate from East Delhi.
Krishna Tirath, the Congress candidate from North-west Delhi, also attributes her good stamina to sports, saying she was once an athlete. She conceded that "this is very hot weather" and prefers to hold public rallies in the evening.
She also makes it a point to drink a lot of water. "I tend to drink a lot of water and sometimes during lunch time, a cold glass of lassi (made from curd) does the trick," she added.
Delhi, which has seven constituencies, goes to the polls in the fourth phase of the general elections May 7.