Union home minister Amit Shah would visit Chennai on January 14 to take part in the 51st anniversary celebrations of Thuglak magazine edited by Reserve Bank of India’s board director S Gurumurthy, confirmed the Tamil political magazine.
Shah’s participation assumes political significance as several senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including LK Advani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have addressed Thuglak’s anniversary celebrations in the past.
After his visit in November, this is Shah’s second trip to the city in the recent past, ahead of the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu due in April or May.
A senior BJP leader in the state said that though Shah’s itinerary is yet to be finalised, his visit will bring clarity especially in relation to their ally, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). “He will clear all the uncertainty over the alliance and also the issue of the chief ministerial candidate,” the leader said on condition of anonymity.
Shah’s visit may also coincide with that of two other significant leaders on the same day. BJP president J P Nadda, who was scheduled to visit Chennai on December 31 for poll preparation and to make important party announcements postponed his visit likely to mid-January after he was diagnosed with Covid-19. Meanwhile Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is also likely to be on a two-day visit to attend other events and his programme was scheduled a couple of months ago, said a source.
During his two-day visit on November 21, Shah had inaugurated infrastructure projects worth Rs67,378 crore at a government function in Chennai. Taking everyone by surprise, chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami and his deputy O Paneerselvam announced on stage that their alliance with the BJP will continue. Later, Shah held marathon meetings, first with Palaniswami and Paneerselvam, followed by an event with state party members after which he chaired a high-level meeting with state leaders urging them to work towards coming to power on their own in the next five years in Tamil Nadu. The BJP leader quoted above had attended this meeting. “He instructed us not to comment on anything as we are a national party and announcements would come from Delhi,” the leader said. BJP being non-committal on the alliance with AIADMK and Palaniswami as the CM candidate irked the AIADMK camp until BJP clarified that it is a procedural issue.
Through midnight into the early hours of November 22, Gurumurthy and Shah held a one-on-one meeting at the latter’s hotel. Gurumurthy became the editor of Thuglak after its founder-editor and political commentator Cho Ramaswamy’s demise in December 2016. Last year, vice-president Venkaiah Naidu was the chief guest with the participation of actor Rajinikanth. Last year, PM Modi recorded a video message for the event as he did in 2017. Modi had participated in 2006 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
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