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East claps, south campaigns

The south-east divide was more than apparent on Wednesday. While Bengal and Assam went off poll mode, politicians in Tamil Nadu and Kerala pressed on with their electioneering, depending only on sidekicks and mobile alerts for the occasional match update.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2011 02:38 IST
HT Correspondents

The south-east divide was more than apparent on Wednesday. While Bengal and Assam went off poll mode, politicians in Tamil Nadu and Kerala pressed on with their electioneering, depending only on sidekicks and mobile alerts for the occasional match update.

In Kolkata, Trinamool Congress surpemo, Mamata Banerjee took a break after a crowded road show on Tuesday. Mamata who confined herself to home was not watching the match. The buzz is that she was giving the final touch to her paintings, which will be auctioned soon. The CPI(M) central committee member, Shyamal Chakrabarty, originally scheduled a press meet at the CPI(M) headquarters but later rescheduled it for Thursday. Usual campaigning scenes such as processions, door-to-door campaigns and street meetings were not evident either.

In Assam the BJP went through two political rallies in Guwahati, but made sure they were over before 2 pm. BJP president Rajnath Singh and his predecessor Venkaiah Naidu addressed a rally each in Thowrah and Tezpur. Campaigns in 62 of the 126 constituencies going to polls on April 4 also lost steam by the second half.

Campaigning, however, did not suffer in the tea-growing belts of central and eastern Assam inhabited by the 'tea tribe' (Adivasis) and in the sandbars dominated by migrant Muslims. Backwardness, frequent power cuts, non-electrification and lack of cricket consciousness were the reasons.

In Kerala, cm-in-waiting Oommen Chandy is no cricket fan. He said, "I have got at least 10 meetings in Kozhikode and surrounding areas. Most of them were decided a week ago. So I decided to skip the game." That most of his addressees were glued to the TV at home, resulting in thin attendance was a different matter altogether.

Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi was campaigning in Tiruchirapalli. "I will have to miss the match as I am campaigning and meetings are slated from 4 pm to 10 in the night."

Her father M Karunanidhi, a cricket fan, was out addressing meetings in Coimbatore, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was driving through Villupuram, deputy CM MK Stalin was touring Tirunelvei and DMDK chief, actor Vijayakanth was also driving through Dharmapuri district.