Mukesh had posted a picture of him shaking hands with his UDF rival Sooraj Ravi on Facebook.

LDF candidate Mukesh shakes hands with opponent troll hell breaks looseMukesh M/Facebook
news Kerala Polls 2016 Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 17:08

There’s an African proverb which goes: ‘Never let the handshake pass the elbow’. So getting too close to a stranger may not exactly work to your advantage, but then politics does make strange bedfellows.

So when actor and Kollam LDF candidate Mukesh uploaded a picture of him shaking hands with his UDF rival Sooraj Ravi on Facebook, he was subject to online trolls with quite a few accusing him of betraying his Left credentials.

Mukesh was then forced to come up with another post as an explainer: “Though we do belong to two different political parties, I have no reason to be at loggerheads with Sooraj on a personal level.” He goes on to ask how a mere handshake can be construed as betrayal of his Leftist beliefs.It is common curtsey –he wrote- to acknowledge someone when you meet them and Kollam has always been a constituency where electoral battles have till date been healthy.

While most users praised Mukesh, there were some who simply could not stomach such a positive competitive trend. Why then was he contesting, if he shared such cordial relations with the opposing candidate.

It thus becomes clear that even if Mukesh is a votary of healthy competition in politics, there are many who view elections as some sort of a battleground, where it’s nothing but outright war.

What exactly is the purpose of someone contesting an election?  Is it to win or not let the other win? The problem arises when we view everything in binaries -good or bad, black or white- with one smart Alec expressing his dilemma about whom to vote for, as ‘both candidates are good’.

What does it mean to believe in a particular political ideology while simultaneously respecting that of a rival? Where exactly does ‘betrayal’ fit into this tenuous equation?

It is unfortunate that politics equates to a parochial outlook for most. Viewing all others as rivals is so innate in each one of us that when someone tries to break the mould, he is labelled a misfit.

We are so used to politicians being at perpetual loggerheads with each other, not necessarily based on the merit of arguments voiced, but only because they swear by different political ideologies and so are expected –by default- to oppose the other.

It hence came as a welcome breather to see LDF candidate VS Sunil Kumar, UDF candidate Padmaja Venugopal and NDA candidate B Gopalakrsihnan –all contesting from Thrissur constituency- catching up and wishing each other luck while celebrating Thrissur Pooram in April this year.

Journalist-turned-politician MV Nikesh Kumar who is contesting from Azhikode constituency in Kannur district on an LDF ticket was also seen engaging in cordial conversation with UDF candidate KM Shaji.

The LDF Paravur candidate Sharada Mohan too was seen shaking hands with UDF candidate VD Satheesan when they bumped into each other during campaigning.

Rather than crying foul in such instances, the public should rejoice that politics need no longer be considered a ‘dirty’ game where the end justifies the means, however underhanded these might be.


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