Campaign goes multi-lingual in border seats of Karnataka-Kerala
Multi-language skills of candidates and party workers also count in the north Kerala constituency since as many as seven languages including Malayalam and Kannada are spoken by the voters.
Command over these languages has become inevitable for seeking vote in the pockets of linguistic minorities in the district, which at many points share borders with Karanataka.
The constituency, where Kannada speakers account around 35 per cent of the population, has people speaking Tulu, Konkani, Marathi, Urdu and Byari, besides Malayalam.
The contestants and campaigners switch from one language to other depending upon the places they tour. If the candidates themselves are not well-versed in these languages, their local followers will help them communicate in the respective dialect and seek vote.
Wall writings and poll posters in multiple languages are common here during the time of elections. Parties also used to rope in local leaders, fluent in these languages, for throughout campaigning.
The main contestants in Kasargode are CPI-M's sitting MP P Karunakaran, T Siddique of the Congress and K Surendran of the BJP. Surendran said he could communicate in Kannada and Tulu languages besides Malayalam. "I can speak Kannada and Tulu as fluently as Malayalam. Local functionaires and worker are helping me in campaigning in the areas where other languages are spoken," he told PTI.
He said they also bring out posters and graffiti in different languages to appeal to the linguistic minorities. The multi-lingual campaign can be mainly seen in panchayats like Manjeswaram, Meencha, Mangalvadi, Kumbala, Puthige, Kumbadaje, Karadukka, Enmakaje, Badiyadukka and Bellur.
The issues of linguistic minorities also figure in the campaigns of major political parties in the area.