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Weather notches up poll heat

- City records hottest April day in 15 years

Guwahati, April 21: Guwahati today equalled a 15-year record by registering its hottest day in April as the mercury touched 40.1 degrees Celsius.

The last time the city recorded the same temperature, the highest ever for the hottest day this month, was on April 17, 1999.

In the subsequent years the maximum temperature in April were 33 degrees Celsius in 2004, 32.1 (2005), 36.8 (2006), 35.3 (2007), 36 (2008), 37.1 (2009), 35.1 (2010), 34.5 (2011), 37.4 (2012) and 38.3 in 2013.

The mercury had leaped by nearly five degrees Celsius from 35 on Saturday to 39.4 on Sunday, making daytime hours almost unbearable for the city’s residents. On April 12, the temperature had been 35.8 degrees Celsius and on April 4, 33.6 degrees Celsius.

Hot winds, coupled with scorching sunlight, made life miserable for pedestrians and bikers. The suffering of residents was compounded by load-shedding. People were seen sipping coconut water, sugarcane and fruit juice at roadside shops.

Other parts of the states are also facing the brunt of rising temperatures. Dhubri, where elections will be held in the third phase, recorded 37 degrees Celsius today, slightly lower than yesterday’s 37.2 degrees Celsius.

To top it all, the meteorological department’s forecast is mainly dry weather with no possibility of rain.

The heat has already got to the political parties. “The rising temperature has upset our campaign plan. We will have to work doubly hard in the evening to make up for the loss during the day because of the heat,” BJP worker Amar Bhuyan said.

Campaigning for the six seats, including Gauhati, which will go to polls on Thursday — the third and final phase — is set to end tomorrow afternoon.

What is worrying is that if the temperature continues to rise, the turnout in Guwahati and elsewhere will be affected.

“The Election Commission should think about 6am to 6pm polling hours to attract voters,” Amiya Baruah, a Congress worker, said. The official poll timing is 7am to 5pm.