Though its only about 4 hours journey from Kuching to Batang Ai the return trip and stoppages would have wasted at least 10 hours of the day. The troops or soldiers of both coalition have made last minute arrangements as they will spend a good two weeks away from home.
Knapsacks,toiletries,medicines,mosquito repellants and other personal items are all packed up by their loved ones as the ground forces starts to make N29 their home away from home. Without the advance parties the party machineries would be considered useless. Preparations and all the contacts to the longhouses where the polling stations are nearby have all been earmarked.
Both sets of supporters or party members would try to avoid each other at these longhouses eventhough they crossed paths quite often as they crisscrossed the rivers.
The word though is that N29 would see amongst the biggest turnout of both sets of supporters and party members from BN and Pakatan Sarawak. The estimated figures according to Special Branch is that at least 15000 people would converge on this little town of Lubok Antu. Seems that Lubok Antu would be overcrowded and security measures would be tight to avoid any untoward incidents.
It is confirmed that amongst the many names who will be in Sarawak Lubok Antu for the nomination day are newly appointed UMNO Vice President Shafie Abdal together with his counterparts from Sabah parties of PBS,UPKO,PBRS.Meanwhile Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim and a strong team from PKR would also be making their presence felt.
Nothing though beats the political boys or soldiers who will be camped out to be on the call twenty four hours and on the move as and when they are required for BEAT DUTY.
These troops are not in any way the exco’s of the parties but usually like the ‘mercenaries’ or ‘rent a waiter’ types who are unknown in the political fields. They are amongst the most effective of the political machinery. In my early years I had a stint as one and was airdropped(excuse my political jargon) more than once into the rural battlefields.
Sometimes we just received immediate instructions and just vroom, vroom,vroom and of we go into the interiors. The dangers or political landscape could either be friendly or at times scarry. N29 is also a constituency where the unknown lurks if you are a visitor from outside Sarawak.Of course the nomination centre is in the town but real battles are waged in the interiors and in the longhouses of N29.
We say as always,” The battle has already begun and April 7th we would know the outcome. For now the troops and soldiers are all awaiting their instructions.