CHENNAI: The AIADMK might portray Union home minister Amit Shah’s visit to Chennai as an administrative schedule, aimed at inaugurating Rs 67,000 crore worth development projects, but there is no denying its political significance..
Highly placed sources in state intelligence said Shah was scheduled to have two one-on-one meetings, both as part of the BJP’s’s attempts at political maneuvering as the assembly elections are just five months away. However, the details have been kept secret. “If it were just an official visit, he would have stayed at the Raj Bhavan. There is more to it,” said the official. Though there were media reports that Rajinikanth would meet Shah, sources in the BJP said it was unlikely.
Shah’s game plan may not bring about a paradigm shift in TN politics immediately, but it may cause unease in the AIADMK leadership as there is a new awareness in the BJP that it cannot grow in TN unless it makes inroads into the AIADMK support base, said a senior BJP leader. “Tamil Nadu CM has inaugurated much bigger projects. The official programme is just an attempt by the AIADMK to keep Shah in good humour. It was added to the itinerary after they came to know that Shah was visiting the city,” he said. Both Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam will attend the official function at Kalaivanar Arangam.
Some amount of political discourse with the AIADMK leadership is also on the platter as Shah would have a closed-door meeting with EPS and OPS, said another BJP source.
Shah will chair a high-level meeting of the BJP with party state president, L Murugan, general secretaries and other senior leaders attending it. “We will brief him on all the activities being carried out in the state. His visit is a morale booster for party functionaries and cadres,” said the leader.