Easter weekend, Vishu slow down campaign in Kerala (Lead)April 9th, 2009 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS
Thiruvananthapuram, April 9 (IANS) With Christians preoccupied with the Easter weekend and Hindus getting ready for the Malayalam New Year Vishu, campaigning for elections next week has been hit, impacting the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) as well as the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
Kerala goes to the polls for its 20 Lok Sabha seats on April 16, and campaigning ends on Vishu, April 14. That effectively means that the last day of campaigning will be overshadowed by the festivities of the day.
For devout Christians, the most important week in the calendar has begun with Maundy Thursday followed by Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Campaign leader for the Congress Oommen Chandy admitted this was a problem: “Passion Week normally puts our Christian workers indoors but then we can’t help it.”
The UDF has put up five Christian candidates in the state where the community counts for 23 percent of the 32 million population: P.C. Chacko - Trissur, K.V. Thomas - Ernakulam, Jose K. Mani - Kottayam, Anto Antony - Pathanamthitta and P.T. Thomas -Idukki.
The LDF has four: U.P. Joseph - Chalakudy, Sindhu Joy - Ernakulam, K.S. Manoj - Alappuzha and Francis George - Idukki.
Christian candidates have decided there will be no campaign on Good Friday, and strategists have said there would be no electioneering in areas with a concentration of Christians.
Congress’ candidate in Ernakulam Thomas said after attending Maundy Thursday mass at his parish near Kochi: “Today, I will be visiting more churches and tomorrow I will be indoors. There will be no campaign.”
Added Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Saju Paul: “We will be only indoors today and tomorrow. How can we take out rallies today and tomorrow especially where the Christian community is in large numbers?”
“Anyway, this is a welcome break to recharge the batteries of our workers who have been having a hectic time,” he added.
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