"I'd not have been able to forgive myself if something had happened to you," Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa told BJP leader LK Advani on Saturday.
The reference was the finding of a bomb on Advani's Jan Chetna yatra route near Madurai. Jayalalithaa also said it was an AIADMK panchayat head who had alerted the police about a bomb.
Advani had called up Jayalalithaa to thank her for the security arrangements made after the bomb was discovered. He said he was impressed by police arrangements for re-routing of his yatra, BJP general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is accompanying Advani, told HT.
Jayalalithaa instructed top police officials to escort Advani, who has the highest Z plus security cover, till he reached Kerala, as this was the first time an explosive had been planted on the route of a VIP. A few days ago, anti-Advani posters had come up in Thirumangalam in Madurai district.
Jayalalithaa later said in a statement: "Without any untoward incident, the conspiracy has been foiled which gives me relief. Police have already registered a case and are thoroughly investigating it. I have ordered them to identify the culprits behind the incident and bring them to book quickly."
The chief minister was concerned by the discovery of the bomb, apparently because it brought back the memories of the 1998 Coimbatore bombings during DMK's regime, near the venue of an election meeting that was to be addressed by Advani.
Though Advani escaped the attacks, at least 58 people were killed and 153 injured in a series of 12 blasts on February 14, 1998. What saved him was that his flight from Thiruvananthapuram was delayed by three hours because he was giving an interview to a TV journalist there.