JVM nominee Ajay Nath Shahdeo sips sattu while campaigning in Ranchi on Thursday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, May 31: Cold drink, sattu, lassi and lemon water are the secret of our cool candidates’ energy as they hit the hot, hot campaign trail of the Hatia Assembly bypoll.
Out on the dusty roads, visiting one house after another with the blazing sun beating down, politicians have drawn up their own survival strategy to stay fit and fine. So, when there is no air-conditioner, the usual summer drinks keep them going, and when handkerchiefs don’t help, the humble gamchha takes care of the dripping sweat.
“Handkerchiefs are not of much use in this hot weather. I find the gamchcha to be more useful in wiping away the perspiration that stops only after I am back home at around 9pm after the day’s campaign,” said JVM candidate Ajay Nath Shahdeo, who belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Ratu.
The deputy mayor of Ranchi uses an air-conditioned SUV to campaign, but he can enjoy the cool air only when he’s travelling.
“Wherever I go, villagers offer me sattu or lemon water. First two days, I carried them in my vehicle, but now I don’t need to,” said Shahdeo, who visited villages like Obaria, Chandaghasi, Domka and Vidyanagar today.
Both for Shahdeo and his Congress rival Sunil Sahay, the Ray-Ban goggles that they are sporting are a necessity than mere fashion eyewear. But they don’t forget to take off the glares while interacting with voters.
And again like Shahdeo, Sahay depends on cold drink, sattu and lassi.
“Usually, I carry a few bottles of cold water in my vehicle when I begin my campaign at 7am. But when walking and meeting voters, I take sattu or lassi from roadside vendors,” said the brother of Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay, who believes that the people of Hatia would give him a chance because of the good works that his party have done in the area.
But a first-time poll contender, Sahay is playing it safe and smart. He has made it a point to not venture out in the scorching heat.
“I begin my campaign at 7am and continue it till 10.30am. In the later half of the day, I hit the streets at 4pm and wrap up canvassing by 9pm. The people also prefer to remain indoors in the afternoon when the heat becomes simply unbearable,” said Sahay, who concentrated on Harmu and Vidyanagar localities today.
BJP’s Ramji Lal Sharda, who did not campaign actively today in support of the party’s nation-wide bandh, also swears by sattu, amjhora and sprouted gram. “I only met my supporters and colleagues to discuss poll campaign. I am confident of victory,” said Sharda, who toured the localities of Ratu today.
Ajsu’s Navin Jaiswal, on the other hand, prefers to take the sun in his stride.
If only water bottles can be found in his air-conditioned car, goggles are a strict no-no for him. “I don’t like shades as they don’t help me see the truth,” he quipped.
“I have the habit of going around in hot summer. Hence, this extreme heat is okay for me,” Jaiswal added as he interacted with villagers at Chipra village, about 25km from the state capital near Nagri.
As many as 29 candidates are in the fray for the June 12 by-election but most of them are likely to play spoilsport and upset the numbers game for the biggies.