Move over politics, it’s now time for the gentleman’s game. While all Trinamool and Congress candidates have suspended door-to-door campaigning on March 30, the date of the India-Pakistan World Cup Cricket semi-final, some CPI(M) candidates have also dropped plans to approach voters on the high-voltage evening.
After India ousted Australia on Thursday, the excitement before the India-Pakistan match has risen to a fever pitch. With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly planning to visit the grounds, the match is being billed as a final before the finals.
"Am I mad that I will interfere with the India-Pakistan match? On ordinary days, I'm engaged in door-to-door campaigning throughout the day. But, on that day, I’ll avoid door-to-door campaigning after the match begins," said the Trinamool's young candidate from Jangipara in Hooghly district, Snehasish Chakrabarty.
The Trinamool Congress's high-profile thespian-turned-politician candidate from Dum Dum constituency, Bratya Basu, has also planned out his campaign so that it does not coincide with the match.
"I'll start early in the morning and finish by noon. During the evening, I'll concentrate on meeting party workers," Basu told Hindustan Times.
The CPI(M)'s candidate from Barabani in Burdwan, Abhash Roy Chowdhury, an avid cricket fan himself, will also ensure that he does not hold any public meetings during the match.
"If cricket is to be used as an opportunity for public relations, one can only think of visiting a voter's house, sitting with him and watching the game. If a conversation takes places, it has to be about cricket and the match. That's the only way to ensure that the voter isn't irritated," Roy Chowdhury said with a chuckle.
The Trinamool's candidate from Shyampukur in Kolkata, Dr Sashi Paja, agrees with Roy Chowdhury on this count. "Interactions take just a couple of minutes, so voters in my constituency don't get irritated since they don't miss much. The only tragedy is that despite being a cricket fan, I'm unable to enjoy the matches because of my own campaign schedule," she said.
However, if she can have her way, she would be happy to knock on voters’ doors during commercial breaks, Panja confides.