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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Narendra Modi to address rally in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur amid expectations of alliance with AIADMK

Speculation is rife that alliance talks between Tamil Nadu’s ruling party AIADMK and the BJP are at an advanced stage.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Feb 10, 2019 08:32 IST
M Manikandan and MC Rajan
M Manikandan and MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Since PM Modi is launching a slew of projects, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapapdi K Palansiwami will also be sharing the stage with him.
Since PM Modi is launching a slew of projects, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapapdi K Palansiwami will also be sharing the stage with him.(ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rally in Tamil Nadu’s hosiery hub of Tirupur on Sunday is likely to give a hint about the saffron party’s line up for the electoral battle amid speculation that it will formally tie up with the AIADMK, say sources familiar with the developments.

Since the PM is also launching a slew of projects, chief minister Edapapdi K Palansiwami will also be sharing the stage with Modi.

With barely a couple of months to go for the elections, this is the second time that the PM is visiting the state within a fortnight. On January 27, he addressed a rally in Madurai. Other than criticising the DMK-Congress alliance and welcoming former allies, the PM has not said anything concrete about the BJP’s electoral alliances till now. The BJP won just once of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu in 2014.

Now, speculation is rife that alliance talks between Tamil Nadu’s ruling party AIADMK and the BJP are at an advanced stage and that the minor irritants about the number of seats as well as the Lok Sabha constituencies would be worked out. The AIADMK is also holding talks with the OBC Vanniyar-dominated Pattali Makkal Katchi, DMDK of actor Vijayakanth as well as Puthiya Thamizhagam of Dr K Krishnasamy.

Tirupur is said to be in the wish list of the BJP. Other seats that the saffron party is eyeing are Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Madurai.

With many children of AIADMK ministers seeking party ticket, the party is said to be engaged in a hard bargain.

According to BJP sources, the Tirupur rally is intended to reach out and consolidate the party’s increasing support base in the state’s western region.

“The PM’s rally will be a platform for reaching out to voters of eight Lok Sabha constituencies including Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, the Nilgiris, Salem, Dharmapuri and Namakkal in western Tamil Nadu. We are expecting at least 25000 workers from each of these constituencies to participate in the public meeting. Since BJP is strong in the western belt, PM’s rally will further boost the party workers’ to carry out the election works,” said SR Shekar, treasurer and spokesperson, BJP, Tami Nadu.

“The PM has already slammed the DMK-Congress alliance. He may clear the air on alliance at Tirupur meeting. After this rally, parties which are hesitant to team up with the BJP will understand our real strength,” he added.

Despite the expectations of a formal alliance, AIADMK veteran and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai on Saturday continued his tirade against the saffron party and said they would not allow the BJP into Tamil Nadu.

“When BJP state chief Tamilisai Sounderrarajan has been saying that they will destroy the Dravidian parties, we cannot let them grow in Tamil Nadu. We never want to carry the burden of national parties on our shoulder,” Thambidurai told the media at his native Karur.

S Vaigaichelvan, a former minister, and AIADMK spokesperson refused to confirm whether any alliance would be declared.

“It is purely a BJP meeting. Our CM is just participating in a government event. We cannot say anything about the alliance now. BJP rally has nothing to do with AIADMK,” said Vaigaichelvan.

In view of the PM’s visit, two stages have been put up at the Tirupur venue, a 70-acre private ground at Peramanallur. While one is for the inauguration of government projects, the other is for the BJP rally.

“The PM is slated to lay the foundation stone for ESIC hospital in Tirupur and through video conference inaugurate the final phase of Chennai Metro Rail service, high speed day service Tejas train between Chennai and Madurai, lay foundation stone for Trichy airport expansion and Pamban Railway Bridge Project,” said KS Palanisamy, district collector, Tirupur.

While the BJP is gearing up for the massive rally, rain gods may play spoilsport with the Met office warning that the western belt of Tamil Nadu including Tirupur would receive heavy rainfall due to a low depression in the Indian Ocean.

After Modi, BJP President Amit Shah is scheduled to visit Erode on February 14 to interact with party workers at the booth level. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is scheduled to address a rally in Tirunelveli on February 12.

Newly-appointed TNCC chief K S Alagiri said Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will also be visiting Tamil Nadu this month.

“Rahul Gandhi has agreed to visit TN for launching the poll campaign this month. He will visit twice in February. Priyanka Gandhi is also scheduled to address a rally in TN. We will disclose the dates soon,” Alagiri told the media.

First Published: Feb 10, 2019 08:31 IST