PM Modi pays tributes to Coimbatore blasts’ victims, holds roadshow | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

PM Modi pays tributes to Coimbatore blasts’ victims, holds roadshow

By, Chennai
Mar 19, 2024 06:42 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid floral tribute to portraits of victims of the 1998 blasts in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore which killed 58 people as he held a roadshow in the southern city just weeks ahead of the general elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid floral tribute to portraits of victims of the 1998 blasts in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore which killed 58 people as he held a roadshow in the southern city just weeks ahead of the general elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a roadshow in Coimbatore on Monday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a roadshow in Coimbatore on Monday. (PTI)

Modi held the roadshow from near Saibaba temple in Mettupalayam Road to RS Puram in an open, flower-decked vehicle as people, who gathered on both sides of the road, showered flower petals on him and chanted slogans hailing him.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

While traditional music was played to welcome him, several of them danced and waved at him enthusiastically.

Clad in a spotless white kurta, Modi sported a colourful BJP shawl and often raised both his hands to wave at people who took vantage positions in buildings to take a glimpse of him. All along the about 2.5 km route, Modi’s vehicle slowly made its way while people followed him on the service lanes.

Modi is on the first day of his two-day visit to the state – his sixth since January – as Tamil Nadu goes to polls in the first phase on April 19 and nominations begin on March 20. Modi will be in Salem district on March 19.

“Tamil Nadu is going to surprise everyone with the results. Our party is emerging as a very strong force across the state. The people are in no mood to support the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) any longer,” Modi posted on X later as he shared photographs of the roadshow.

The Prime Minister’s visit sparked a controversy last week after the state government refused permission citing law-and-order concerns since he was taking the route where the blast occurred in 1998.

However on Friday, the Madras high court permitted the roadshow, asking the police to allow it with reasonable conditions. The high court said the rejection of permission citing the proposed route is communally sensitive was “unsustainable”.

Justice N Anand Venkatesh said one such condition shall be that no flex boards will be allowed to be erected by the organisers during the event. All concerned shall ensure that the roadshow takes place in a smooth manner without giving rise to any law and order problem or cause any concerns to the safety and security of the Prime Minister, the judge added.

The BJP polled around one-third of the votes in the Coimbatore in the past two Lok Sabha elections, but came relatively close to the winner (AIADMK’s P Nagarajan) only in 2014, when the contest was a three-cornered one between AIADMK, BJP, and DMK.

The road show came amid discussions on the BJP’s list of candidates for Tamil Nadu and speculation that state unit chief Annamalai might contest from Coimbatore.

Fifty-eight people were killed and 250 injured after 19 bomb explosions rocked Coimbatore city between February 14 and 17 in 1998. The improvised explosive devices (IED), with time delay mechanisms, were placed in cars, two-wheelers, abandoned bags, push carts, tea cans and so on.

SA Basha and Mohammed Ansari, leaders of Muslim militant organisation Al-Umma, were the prime convicts in the case. Of the 166 accused, the trial court in August 2007 pronounced 69 people guilty of various offences. In December 2009, the Madras high court upheld the convictions of 18 people – 17 life terms and one 13-year prison term. The bench acquitted 22 people of all charges for want of sufficient evidence.

Following the 1998 blasts, BJP veteran C P Radhakrishnan (who is the current governor of Jharkhand) was elected twice, but failed to retain the seat in the 2019 polls.

Coimbatore witnessed widespread violence in 2016 after several mosques and churches were pelted with stones following the murder of Hindu Munnani spokesperson C Sasikumar. In its charge sheet, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) named members of the now-banned People Front of India (PFI).

During his roadshow, Modi was flanked by Annamalai, Union minister of state L Murugan and Coimbatore South MLA, Vanathi Srinivasan.

Discover the complete story of India's general elections on our exclusive Elections Product! Access all the content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Current Updates on India News, Lok Sabha election 2024 live, Election 2024 along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On