Amit Shah's vsit comes when BJP's relationship with its southern accomplice AIADMK is stressed over the previous' Vetrivel yatra
Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday reached Chennai where he will take part in three events.
According to Shah’s scheduled for Chennai released by his office, the home minister will first pay floral tributes to MG Ramachandran and former chief minister, late Jayalalithaa at 4:30 pm. Ten minutes later, Shah will inaugurate and lay foundation stone for various development projects worth Rs 67,000 crore, including Phase 2 of Chennai Metrol Rail.
Finally, at 6 pm, he will meet office-bearers and district presidents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamil Nadu, and is expected to discuss Tamil Nadu elections due next year. He is on a two-day visit to Chennai.
At the airport, Shah was received by Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, senior cabinet members and BJP state president L Murugan among others.
As soon as Shah’s convoy left the aiport, the home minister sprang a surprise when he virtually broke protocol, got out of his vehicle and walked on the busy GST Road outside the airport to greet supporters. He warmly waved at the overjoyed supporters who had thronged the airport since the morning.
Shah’s vsit comes at a time when BJP’s relationship with its southern partner All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is strained over the former’s Vetrivel yatra (victorious spear march). The state government has denied permission citing the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, and AIADMK’s mouthpiece called it “divisive”. However, BJP members have continued with the yatra across Tamil Nadu since November 6, courting arrests and being let off later.
A crucial consultative meeting was also held on Friday where the BJP showed its reluctance to accept chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) as the candidate for the top job in the 2021 Assembly election, said a party leader on the condition of anonymity.
Last month, after days of internal power tussle, Paneerselvam had officially announced Palaniswami as the AIADMK’s chief ministerial candidate.
A heavy security cover has been provided in Chennai for Shah’s visit. He will leave for New Delhi on Sunday.