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Coimbatore waits for Advani to leave

A Ganesh Nadar in Coimbatore | March 11, 2004 20:22 IST

Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani's roadshow reached Coimbatore on Thursday evening. After addressing a rally Advani will retire to the local circuit house and take questions from the local press at the Ramalakshmi marriage hall on Friday morning.

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In Coimbatore, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate is C P Radhakrishnan. He has won the election to the Lok Sabha twice, including in 1999. He faces the Communist Party of India's Supparayan.

"We are not planning any protests because there is already so much tension in the air," local CPI official Jagadeesan says. "We don't want to add to it."

A Nachimuthu, the district Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam treasurer, feels, "The word 'rath' will attract only Hindus. Even AIADMK cadres will not attend."

Katur Shunmugam, the BJP's district propaganda secretary, admits it was very difficult to mobilise people because of the security restrictions. "We have not put up any posters or banners all over the city, as it is not needed," he says. "Everyone knows about the yatra. We did not give the AIADMK any special invitation. As an ally we expect them to come."

The public is more interested in knowing when Advani will leave. The check posts, pickets, patrols and random checks at the roadside are getting on peoples' nerves.

The election in Tamil Nadu is still two months away and much as the BJP promotes Advani, the public does not really appear interested.

It may have been a different story had Advani got film stars travelling with him. In Kanyakumari, where the yatra commenced, Telugu superstar Vijayshanthi and former Test cricketer Krishnamchari Srikkanth got the loudest cheers.


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