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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 April 2024

PM Modi heads south again: Two-day visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu will, however, be the principal political focus of the visit. Modi is scheduled to preside over the conclusion of the more than 100-day-long 'En Mann, En Makkal (My Land, My People) Yatra', led by state BJP chief K. Annamalai

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 27.02.24, 05:18 AM
Modi inaugurates and lays the foundation for railway projects via videoconferencing on Monday.

Modi inaugurates and lays the foundation for railway projects via videoconferencing on Monday. PTI picture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a two-day visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu from Tuesday, his third southern trip before the elections amid an all-out push to win Lok Sabha seats from a region still outside the saffron ecosystem.

Modi will fly to Maharashtra from Tamil Nadu on Wednesday as part of an effort to cover as much of the country as possible, inaugurating or initiating development projects, before the election dates are announced and the model code of conduct kicks in.

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Maharashtra with its 48 Lok Sabha seats — the second-highest after Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 — is key to Modi achieving his stated target of 400-plus seats for the NDA.

Tamil Nadu will, however, be the principal political focus of the visit. Modi is scheduled to preside over the conclusion of the more than 100-day-long "En Mann, En Makkal (My Land, My People) Yatra", led by state BJP chief K. Annamalai, at Palladam in Tiruppur district on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister will address a “mammoth rally” in Palladam, billed as the biggest-ever show of strength by the BJP in Tamil Nadu. Party leaders said the target was to get a crowd of around 10 lakh and “shake the politics of Tamil Nadu” ahead of the general election.

The Yatra’s objective is to cover all the 234 Assembly segments in Tamil Nadu to try and secure a foothold for the party in the state. Union home minister Amit Shah had launched the Yatra, conducted in a staggered manner, on July 28 from Rameswaram.

“We have crossed 232 constituencies. Waiting to cross the last two constituencies along with you on 27th Feb. Look forward to meeting all of you in Palladam,” Annamalai said in a post on X.

Modi posted on X: "I will be addressing two @BJP4TamilNadu public meetings during this visit. In the afternoon tomorrow, 27th February, will be speaking at Tiruppur and on the 28th will be speaking at Tirunelveli. I urge the people from Tiruppur, Tirunelveli and the surrounding areas to come and bless us in large numbers.

"Over the last few months, it has become crystal clear that Tamil Nadu is supporting the NDA in a great way and the Lok Sabha results will also reflect that!"

Modi also wrote a post about holding a party rally in Kerala, claiming that the people of the state were "tired of UDF and LDF".

Speculation in the BJP attributes Modi’s frequent Tamil Nadu visits to a desire to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from a constituency in the southern state, in addition to his current constituency of Varanasi.

Modi will begin his trip on Tuesday with an official visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, to inaugurate space infrastructure projects. He will later address a rally. This will be Modi’s third visit this year to Kerala, where the BJP is yet to open its Lok Sabha account.

Modi will fly to Tamil Nadu later in the day. On Wednesday, he will inaugurate or lay the foundations for several infrastructure projects in Madurai before dashing off to Maharashtra for similar official functions and rallies.

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