Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday landed in Chennai for a two-day visit. He was welcomed at the airport by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his Deputy O Panneerselvam.
Shah’s visit is politically important as Tamil Nadu is scheduled to hold Assembly elections next year. He is expected to discuss the strategy for the polls with party leaders during his visit, according to NDTV.
Shah got out of his vehicle to greet the supporters who had gathered along the busy road outside the airport. “I am always happy to be in Tamil Nadu,” Shah tweeted, along with pictures of him waving to cheering supporters. “Today I am addressing my beloved Tamil brothers and sisters through various programs!”
Meanwhile, the hashtag #GoBackAmitShah trended on Twitter.
The Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader is scheduled to launch projects worth over Rs 67,000 crore later in the day, according to PTI. The projects include the second phase of the Chennai Metro Rail. Shah will also meet his party’s office bearers and district presidents.
The senior leader’s trip to Chennai also came amid hints of tension between the BJP and its ally, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Earlier this month, the police in Tamil Nadu had arrested BJP’s state unit chief L Murugan as he started the “Vetri Val Yatra”, despite the government denying permission to conduct the roadshow amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The religious roadshow is part of the BJP’s campaign ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year. The yatra, which involves worshipping Tamil deity Murugan, is an attempt to consolidate Hindu votes ahead of the polls.
The yatra has been a bone of contention between BJP and the AIADMK, since a music video promoting it showed the saffron party President Murugan as the future leader of the state, and featured a picture of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran.
Another point of contention between the allies arose as the BJP used AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran’s photo alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an election campaign video, NDTV reported.