Shah to meet heads of alliance partners during TN visit

Amit Shah to meet leaders of alliance partners during TN visit

Shah will not meet Tamil superstar Rajinikanth and expelled DMK leader M K Alagiri, sources said

Shah meeting alliance partners is also an indication that the BJP may want to continue with the coalition cobbled up for the 2019 polls though it might invite a few more parties to its fold. Credit: PTI

Political temperature in Tamil Nadu is expected to heat up this weekend when Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah meets leaders of alliance partners, including AIADMK and PMK, during his visit here. The meeting is expected to drop hints of the BJP's plans for Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis alliance for the crucial assembly polls due in the first half of 2021.

Shah, who will be in Chennai on a day-long visit to lay the foundation stone for phase-II of Chennai Metro and a new reservoir to meet the water needs of the city, will interact with allies in an “informal set-up” on November 21. He will meet leaders of AIADMK – Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam – PMK, DMDK, and other allies who fought the 2019 Lok Sabha elections under the banner of National Democratic Alliance.

Read | Shah to visit TN BJP leaders, discuss Assembly polls

“He (Shah) will be meeting all our allies in an informal set up. It is not a formal meeting, but a courtesy call since he is coming to Tamil Nadu after a long time,” a senior BJP leader, who is aware of the Home Minister's itinerary, told DH. Asked whether politics will be discussed during the meetings, the source said informal discussions will take place whenever political leaders meet.

However, the leader added that Shah will not meet Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who last month dropped hints that he may not take the political plunge, and expelled DMK leader M K Alagiri, elder son of party patriarch M Karunanidhi. “They were mere speculation. And meeting with Alagiri may take longer than we expected,” the leader said.

The party is said to be keen roping in Alagiri, who was expelled from DMK by Karunanidhi, in 2014, which would certainly embarrass DMK President M K Stalin.

Shah meeting alliance partners is also an indication that the BJP may want to continue with the coalition cobbled up for the 2019 polls though it might invite a few more parties to its fold. The BJP has been making a concerted effort to cobble up a formidable front against the DMK, which has indicated that it may fight the polls with the existing alliance.

Shah's meeting with Palaniswami and Panneerselvam assumes significance as it comes amidst a tug of war between AIADMK and BJP over the latter's Vetrivel Yatra. It also comes at a time there is speculation that AIADMK might go it alone in the assembly polls. Sources in the AIADMK said it was “pre-mature” to talk about alliance as elections are nearly seven months away in Tamil Nadu.

BJP sources said after meeting leaders of alliance partners, Shah will also interact with office-bearers of the state unit of the party and members of the core committee on Saturday.