Just like any other district in Kerala, Wayanad, known for its verdant hills, tea plantations, is also experiencing very hot weather these days. However, it has not affected the poll campaign there, especially for CK Saseendran,  the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) candidate in Kalpetta who prefers to walk barefoot.

When his fellow party workers quickly wilt under the heat, Saseendran remains cool. Comrades use caps and umbrellas to escape the sun, but their leader is used to it.
 “I have never used footwear in school or college. Trekking through forest paths and tribal colonies is easier barefoot. It is more of a habit to me,” says Saseendran.

A full-time party worker, the CPM leader from the tribal heartland of Kerala, started his political activities very young. He was serving as the district secretary of the party when he was chosen to contest from the Kalpetta constituency.

I have never used footwear in school or college. Trekking through forest paths and tribal colonies is easier barefoot: CK Saseendran

The tribal face of the CPM may dismiss the unprecedented summer as just warm. But the political climate in Kalpetta is getting really hot. A familiar politician among plantation workers and tribal communities, Saseendran has a tough task at hand as he tries to wrest the seat from MV Sreyamskumar of the United Democratic Front, who won from Kalpetta in 2006 and 2011 assembly elections.