Fresh after a barrage of attacks against political rival and Telangana state leadership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Chennai on Saturday to what seemed like calmer waters.
Modi shared the warmth of Chief Minister M K Stalin who briefly held the PM's hand and patted the back of the latter's palm while walking through the displays exhibited at the new Chennai airport terminal on Saturday.
Earlier, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhara Rao did not attend PM Modi's event in Hyderabad.
While speaking at Hyderabad after inaugurating railway projects and developmental schemes, PM Modi attacked the Telangana state leadership for "obstructing" the developmental projects being implemented in the state by the Centre. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan was seated on stage as the PM launched his attack on the state leadership.
While the PM flew over to Tamil Nadu soon after the Telangana events, he was wading into tricky political waters. The Governor RN Ravi had very recently kicked up a political storm by saying the 2018 anti-Sterlite protests by people were completely "foreign-funded".
While responding to a question on Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violations during an event at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai on Thursday, the governor had said "Sterlite protest, it was purely foreign-funded, and the entire activities which led to the protest and the unfortunate police firing that cost innocent lives." DMK had reacted sharply to these comments saying that it was an insult to the people who not only participated in huge numbers against the functioning of the Sterlite plant but even gave their lives in their struggle. At least 13 people were killed when police opened fire at anti-Sterlite protestors in Thoothukudi in 2018. DMK had threatened statewide protests against the governor's remarks.
Meanwhile, the ruling DMK's ally Congress party had threatened to hold a black flag demonstration at the airport to protest the arrival of Modi in the state amid disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as Lok Sabha member.
The DMK has been raising several issues regarding the alleged threat to federal structure of the country posed by the ruling BJP at the centre. Chief Minister Stalin has also been batting for a Congress-led opposition unity against the NDA government at the centre.
Only days before the PM arrived did the Chief Minister write a letter to the former demanding that three coal blocks identified in the Cauvery Delta region of the state be removed from the national auction list.
The centre was quick to remove the three regions from the list, even as the state BJP leader K Annamalai issued a statement thanking the PM for his swift response to their demands.
In such an atmosphere, of the three events the PM was to participate in Chennai, Chief Minister MK Stalin not only participated in the first one where the Prime Minister inaugurated Chennai Airport's new integrated terminal, but also expressed some warmth.
Stalin received the PM at the Chennai airport and later both together, with Governor R N Ravi in tow among others including Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, took a walk around the new integrated terminal.
The PM then went on to his next stop which was to flag off Chennai-Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express from the MGR Chennai Central Station, which was also attended by Stalin.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.