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Parks and politics: Politicians find ways to campaign, and beat the heat

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The air is cool with the barest hint of the scorching day ahead, the sun still to hit its hot stride and office a couple of hours away. Perfect time then not just for a morning walk in the park but also for candidates to canvass for votes.
On Monday, Union minister Harsh Vardhan, the BJP's candidate for Chandni Chowk, and AAP's New Delhi candidate Brijesh Gupta were among those who made the most of the morning hours to campaign.
"This is the time when you can meet maximum people at one place. This is also the time where you can meet all members of a family," Vardhan told PTI.
At 6.30 am, BJP workers outside the K L Sharma Park in Paschim Vihar in west Delhi in the constituency eagerly waited for Vardhan to arrive so the campaign for the day could begin.
As residents jogged, ambled or did push-ups on the grass, party workers dressed in 'NaMo' T-shirts with BJP scarves hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a young worker shouted slogans into a mike.
Vardhan, the incumbent MP, was scheduled to start his campaign at 6 am in the morning from the park. Dressed in a NaMo shirt, track pant and jogging shoes, he arrived about an hour later to an enthusiastic welcome from the workers.
Some showered flowers while others wanted to place a turban on his head. Within minutes, the crowd entered the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) maintained park through a narrow passage.
The younger lot jumped a wall at the entrance to join Vardhan. As he entered the park, he started interacting with morning walkers. The first interaction took place with a bunch of people exercising on gym equipment inaugurated by Vardhan recently. After a brief interaction, he proceeded to meet others.
In 30 minutes, he met over 50-60 people in the park, appealing to them to vote for Prime Minister Modi. One woman vented her grievances and he patiently listened, assuring her of action. Some also wanted to take selfies with him.
He then proceeded to the Meera Bagh area for campaigning.
As temperatures cross 40 degrees Celsius, the time between 6-10 am is one of the most preferred slots for campaigning.
According to Vardhan, every hour should be utilised to the fullest during the polls when time is of the essence.
"I also like visiting parks. Election campaigning gives me more reasons to do that," he added.
AAP's New Delhi candidate Gupta agreed. He also starts his campaign at 6 am and covers three parks a day.
"Where do you get 500-600 people in a concentrated place. This is the advantage of campaigning in the morning. Plus, it gets very hot later in the day," Goyal said.
Workers, too, find it easy to campaign.
Explaining the importance of campaigning in the morning, BJP councillor Neeraj Gupta said parks play an important place in Delhi's politics.
"It is the place where people debate, discuss what's happening in Delhi and national politics. Visiting them in parks facilitates one on one meetings, which helps develop a bond," he said.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 7:15 PM IST

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