Candidates across party lines are vying for voter’s attention with an apolitical rival in West Bengal.
Whether it is the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the CPM, the BJP or the Congress, several candidates are rather baffled as to how to get the public's attention away from the IPL.
They are worried that their evening campaigning may get ruined if voters stay to glued to cricket.
Speaking to DH senior CPM leader and candidate from the Bolpur Lok Sabha constituency, Ram Chandra Dome, said that the cricket fever has affected both party workers and voters.
“The cricket fever has not just gripped voters but our party workers as well. We have to adjust the timing and strategy of our door to door campaigning for this,” Dome said.
The CPM candidate known for his amicable nature seemed to be a bit amused with the situation. He said that there is one advantage of the IPL and campaigning taking place at the same time as it is keeping most of the voters at home in the evening.
“But if we approach them with political issues when they are engrossed in cricket they may get annoyed,” said Dome as he laughed aloud.
In the northern part of West Bengal, BJP candidate from the Alipurduars constituency, John Barla, is desperately trying to strike a balance between cricket and politics.
Barlas’s rival, TMC candidate Dasrath Tirkey, wants to be cautious with the people’s emotions about cricket.
“We have to figure out a way of approaching voters without annoying them,” Trikey said.
Senior TMC minister and the party’s in-charge of campaigning in Darjeeling, Gautam Deb, is in a double vine. Being a cricket enthusiast himself, Deb is ruing the fact that he will have to miss a few matches.
“Moreover, people will disappear from the streets in the evening as soon as the matches start. It will be a challenging task to draw their attention to politics,” Deb said.
However, a section of TMC leaders are keen on turning the cricket frenzy into one of the means to reach out to the people.
“We will mingle with those who come to watch IPL matches in clubs. Our campaigning will continue alongside cricket,” a senior TMC leader said.