With less than a fortnight left for the elections, the heat is on for the netas—literally. The weather gods couldn’t choose a worse time to roast Delhi and the candidates contesting elections are rescheduling their campaign programmes to escape the unrelenting sun.
When most of the seat hopefuls officially started campaigning in their areas early this month, the padayatras, corner meetings and rallies would start around ten in the morning and go on through the day. Then last week, the temperature crossed 40 degree Celsius and the netas had to work their way around the hottest period of the day.
“These days I start very early, around 5 am and wrap up by 11.30 am. Campaigning again starts at around 5 pm and goes on till 10 pm. We cannot campaign beyond that due to the model code of conduct,” said Congress candidate from New Delhi constituency Ajay Maken.
Meera Kanwaria, the BJP candidate from North West Delhi, also prefers to start out early to reach her voters. She participated in a yoga session in Rohini area on Wednesday. “A short session of yoga is a real stress buster and helps me to overcome tiredness,” she said.
Kanwaria also went for morning walk in the area and interacted with a cross-section of people. “You can't meet most people in daytime as they go out for job or business,” she said.
Apart from rescheduling his campaign, Maken also carries an icebox full of beverages in his car to beat the heat. “The box contains liquids like buttermilk, juices and nimbu paani,” Maken said.
Nimbu paani, by the way, seems to be the favoured drink of politicians. “As it is very hot these days I have nimbu paani and glucose at regular intervals during padayatras,” said Mahabal Mishra, Congress candidate from West Delhi.
Though the BJP candidate from East Delhi, Chetan Chauhan doesn’t have any favourites, he drinks any beverage he can find on the way.
Vijender Gupta, BJP candidate from Chandni Chowk, not only keeps himself hydrated during his rigorous padayatras but also prefers a fruit-only diet. “He spends at least eight hours each day to visit different areas and only comes back home for a couple of hours at around 3 pm,” said a close aide.
Vijay Goel, BJP candidate from New Delhi said he is used to the heat but many voters don’t prefer to attend meetings in the hot sun. “That is why I start very early and have public meetings in the evening. The afternoon is kept for party meetings, mostly conducted indoors,” he said.