CHENNAI: Hectic preparations are underway for BJP national president Amit Shah’s two-day visit to Tamil Nadu, his first official trip since assuming the party mantle in July.
It will be a busy weekend for the saffron strongman, as he will be addressing a public meeting in the city and holding a series of interactions with BJP leaders and workers to chart the party’s future course of action in a politically crucial State.
According to BJP sources, Shah is scheduled to arrive in the city by flight at 1.50 pm on Saturday after a trip to Kerala. He will be accorded a reception by party leaders at the airport. From there, he will be taken to his hotel and then to his first political engagement - a public meeting - at 3.30 pm. On Friday, the mood among party workers appeared upbeat, with national secretary and party in-charge for TN P Muralidhar Rao personally overseeing the arrangements for the visit. Keeping in tune with the party’s ambitions to capture power in the 2016 assembly elections, Shah would address an estimated crowd of around two lakh people from a massive stage – a replica of Fort St George.
Expectations among party workers are clearly high. They hope their party chief will replicate the same electoral magic in Tamil Nadu as in Maharashtra and Haryana, where the BJP was catapulted to power in the recently held assembly elections.
Describing Shah’s strategy as “silent revolution,” BJP Central Chennai district president M Jaishankar said: “Wherever he went, he has been victorious. We have the same kind of expectations in Tamil Nadu. After 30 years of rule by Dravidian parties, people want a political change.”
Shah’s meeting with BJP office-bearers on Sunday would primarily focus on the party’s ongoing membership campaign in the State. “We will also discuss programmes that the party should adopt to consolidate and expand its base among different social sections, age groups and professional segments,” Muralidhar Rao said.
With just a little more than a year left for the assembly elections, Shah will also look into the party’s preparedness to fight the polls, he added. “With the political vacuum in the State, there is lot of uncertainty about the future. The image of both Dravidian parties has taken a beating. Under the circumstances, only the BJP has the ability and strength to rally different groups under its umbrella,” Rao added.
Composer to Join?
A day ahead of the visit, speculation was rife that music composer Gangai Amaran may join the BJP during Shah’s visit after the Kollywood veteran called on Rao and Tamil Nadu unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan. Meanwhile, actor and theatre personality S Ve Sekhar, who is attached to the party’s propaganda wing, indicated that he will not attend the public meeting.