Braving heat, people line up to watch Modi's roadshow in Palakkad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at the public during a road-show in Palakkad. Photo: Manorama

Palakkad: The temperature in Palakkad touched a sizzling 39 degree celsius on Tuesday. “It’s kind of burning here. The heat is unbearable, but Modi is a person never to miss,” said Shafeeq Muhammed, a Nellissery native, while eagerly awaiting under the scorching sun near Sultanpet here, to have a glimpse of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led a roadshow at Palakkad on Tuesday morning. 

Modi was warmly welcomed by hundreds of people in Palakkad, considered to be an A-class Lok Sabha constituency by the BJP where C Krishnakumar, the party’s state general secretary and former vice-chairperson of the Palakkad municipality, is contesting for a second time. 

Muhammed was sceptical whether BJP would win the Palakkad seat. “However, our Prime Minister is definitely a crowd puller. I have huge respect for him. BJP is working hard to have a presence in Lok Sabha from Kerala this time. Whether their mission would be fulfilled or not is yet to be decided. At the same time, it should be admitted that at least in Palakkad, BJP is working as a well-oiled machine,” he added, covering his face with a handkerchief. 

Coming to Kerala for the second time within a week, Palakkad received Modi with flower showers and chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. The party's Malappuram candidate Abdul Salam, former vice-chancellor of Calicut University and the sole Muslim BJP candidate in Kerala, was not present in the PM's open vehicle. Modi was accompanied by Krishnakumar, BJP's state president K Surendran and candidate from Ponnani Niveditha Subramanian. A large number of people, mostly women, waited on both sides of the 900-metre-long road-show.

Insiders said that Salam’s name was not included in the list of people accompanying the PM in the open vehicle prepared by the SPG. At the same time, Modi shook hands with Salam and wished him success. 

‘Modi's Guarantee’ 
“We lost the last general election by 1.8 lakh votes. When you think about the figure, it’s a huge win for the present MP VK Sreekandan. However, this time, we have listed 600 booths, where we can improve our position from the second to first and third to second from the last polls. What we are planning is to bring in 80 votes additionally from 1000-odd booths,” said Smithesh Melepat, BJP councillor in Palakkad municipality. 

The party has divided the assembly area to 1100 booths and has started door-to-door campaigning, and taken the field well before the rivals UDF and LDF. “We are ruling the Palakkad municipality. We are the main opposition in Ottapalam and Shoranur municipalities, so is the case in several of the panchayats coming under the Palakkad Lok Sabha seat. People believe in Modi’s guarantee and this time, we will definitely win,” added Melepat. 

BJP camp said at least 40,000 people attended the road-show. Twenty-two BJP leaders, including the councillors, welcomed Modi in the helipad arranged at Mercy College Ground from where he came to the Anchuvilakku junction in a covered car. He entered the open vehicle from there to the head post office. The Prime Minister left for Salem from Palakkad. 

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