2019 elections: Scorching sun takes heat out of campaign

Chennai: A couple of days ago, a video of DMK’s candidate in Pollachi, Dr Gautham Sigamani, wiping Udhayanidhi Stalin’s sweat with a towel during a campaign rally went viral on social media. With the mercury soaring, the candidates and campaigners are literally sweating it out with Lok Sabha elections around the corner.

Thankfully, Tamilnadu will go to polls in single phase on 18 April as Dog Days in May would mean the temperature crossing 40 degrees in many places.

Speaking to News Today, a physician, Dr Nandakumar, said, “Those on campaign trail should stay away from venturing out between 11 pm and 3 pm. It will not just be draining but dehydrating. They should drink enough water and add supplements to their diet. Especially those affected by blood pressure and diabetes should follow their doctor’s instructions.”

It involves a lot of physical activity during campaign. Hence, they have to drink water at regular intervals. Make sure they carry oral rehydration solution (ORS) with them, he said, and added, “The political leaders have to address the gatherings non-stop during the campaign, which drains their energy.”

“Time and again, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has been issuing press releases warning that temperature will shoot up in the afternoons during this month. Campaigners should take them into consideration before drawing up their schedule,” he adds.

Interestingly, in neighbouring Kerala, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has told party workers in Alappuzha to be alert about dehydration and sunstroke risks, while campaigning in the hot sun. He also directed to avoid public events from noon to 3 pm.

“Though social media and television campaigns are there, nothing like meeting people in person and seeking their votes. Amidst sweltering heat, we literally go from street to street to convince people to vote for us,” says Hariharan, an office-bearer of a major political party here.

According to him, “We not just ensure that our star campaigners are kept fit and fresh, we also care for those who accompany us during rallies. We ensure proper drinking water being supplied to them. We request senior citizens to join us only during evenings.”

Manimaran, who co-ordinates the campaign trail of a political party in Nanganallur, says, “We give umbrellas and hats to those who come for campaign during noon. We want everyone to be comfortable. It is already hot here though summer has not arrived.”

M BHARAT KUMAR