With the assembly elections a few months away in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today address a public meeting here, being billed by the party as the launch of its poll campaign and “a turning point rally” in the history of the state politics.
On a five-hour visit to the textile city in Western Tamil Nadu, which is among the 20 cities choosen for the Centre’s Smart City Project, Modi would also launch an ESI Medical College here.
While the elections are yet to be announced and all parties, including the Dravidian majors ruling AIADMK and DMK, are in the preparatory mode, state BJP leaders have said Modi’s rally would mark the launch of its campaign.
BJP, which led a rainbow seven-party alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, is aiming to form a strong combine for the assembly polls, due in a few months.
As such, the public meeting being held at the sprawling CODISSIA grounds is also seen as a show of strength by the BJP to enhance its bargaining power during the seat-sharing exercise with possible NDA allies.
Incidentally, Modi had addressed a public meeting as part of the NDA’s campaign at the same venue in 2014.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP-led NDA also comprised DMDK, PMK, MDMK, IJK, New Justice Party and Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi, but the front managed to win only two of the 39 seats—one by PMK and another by the Saffron party itself.
While MDMK led by Vaiko snapped its ties with NDA soon after the polls, PMK has been critical of various policies of the Modi Government and even announced its youth wing leader as its “Chief Ministerial candidate”, indicating it would lead an alliance for the assembly polls.
Actor-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK, which is being wooed by various parties, has kept everyone, including BJP, guessing.
Though BJP has officially claimed it was not desperate for an alliance, party sources say it wanted the tie-up with DMDK to continue.
Seeking to make the Modi rally a grand show, BJP has been making arrangements to mobilise at least five lakh people from the region, including from nearby Erode, Nilgiris, Tirupur and Salem districts.