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Led by Modi-Shah, BJP to carpet-bomb TN

By R RAJAGOPALAN
December 15, 2020 08:47 IST
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From January 5 onwards, one Union minister will visit one district in Tamil Nadu every week till the assembly election, reports R Rajagopalan.

 
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi and Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo

The Bharatiya Janata Party has drawn up an aggressive, mega carpet bombing style of poll campaign for the Tamil Nadu assembly election to be held in April/May, under which a battery of 25 leaders are scheduled to visit the state over the next few weeks.

The roster of leaders includes Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi, Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.

The first to kickstart the TN campaign is BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda -- currently at home with coronavirus -- who will be in Chennai on December 31 and January 1, ostensibly to offer prayers at the Lord Parthasarathy and Kapaleeswarar temples in Chennai on new year's day.

During his visit, Nadda will interact with senior BJP leaders in the stateand meet Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam.

He is also scheduled to call on National Democratic Alliance partners in Tamil Nadu like G K Vasan of the Tamil Maanila Congress, Pattali Makkal Katchi's Dr S Ramadoss, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam's Premalata and other smaller parties.

Other ministers who will beat a path to Tamil Nadu include Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishanker, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani and BJP Chief Ministers Ajay Mohan Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath and Manohar Lal Khattar, and ally Nitish Kumar.

A tentative schedule for these high profile visits has been drawn up by B L Santosh, the BJP's organising secretary and C T Ravi, general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu.

For the first 90 days of 2021, from January 5 onwards, one Union minister will visit one district in Tamil Nadu every week.

While Modi will be in Chennai and Coimbatore, Shah will visit Trichy and Coimbatore. Irani will go to the Nilgiris, Jaishankar to Thanjavur. Sitaraman to Tiruvannamalai and Singh to Vellore.

The BJP has taken up contesting the Tamil Nadu assembly election in a serious way after encouraging reports from state president L Murugan's Vel Yatra. Its impressive performance in the Hyderabad civic polls has also ignited confidence in BJP leaders to go all out in Tamil Nadu.

Nadda's message to the BJP's Tamil Nadu unit is that in 2021 the BJP will be an effective Opposition party, and in 2026 the BJP will be aggressive in emerging as the ruling party in Tamil Nadu (2021 il edhir katchi, 2026il aalum katchi).

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R RAJAGOPALAN in New Delhi
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