It would indeed be the first time that Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, had come to the deep south in a state where his party, BJP has deep struggles. On Friday - July 28, Amit Shah arrived in Rameswaram to put more weight behind Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai's yatra, which, the party hopes, would boost its base ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The yatra has been named En Mann En Makkal (My Soil, My People) and would be carried out with a manifest of propagating BJP's campaign and as a outreach to the Modi administration. The yatra would commence from Rameswaram in the Ramanathapuram district and was mapped in a fashion that it would cover all the legislative constituencies before ending in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu BJP's yatra would be second such yatra from the state unit and would be held months after the party's rival leader Rahul Gandhi had successfully completed his nationwide march 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in which he had travelled to 12 states from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka. While the Congress party launched its march from Tamil Nadu, Amit Shah is now launching the party's state wide yatra amid a national attention.
As Annamalai's yatra is unfolding in the midst of his contentious tenure at the helm, the BJP eyes to have a political breakthrough from a belligerent Tamil Nadu. Let's take a look at five points that you should watch out for in this yatra,
- Annamalai's yatra 'En Mann En Makkal' will run for six months where he will travel to all the 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu
- After BJP's debacle in Karnataka, this yatra is seen as a crucial move for the party to rebuild its base in the southern states. As the yatra would cover Tamil Nadu, the state party leaders have planned to meet the people and to disseminate Modi's governance and DMK's corruptions.
- When Annamalai's tenure was in deep water in Tamil Nadu, the backing and presence of Amit Shah to launch the yatra, in the midst of a parliamentary pressure, holds significance as it appears that the BJP high command still has a confidence on him
- Interestingly, this yatra would be held at a high time when it has been speculated that Narendra Modi would contest from the Ramanathapuram constituency in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Though it wasn't official, the party is looking out the possibilities in Modi's run in Tamil Nadu with the view of building him a pan-Indian leader and to build more Hindu connect with the holy town of Rameswaram, which is Hindu pilgrimage site.
- What must be noted that when it has claimed as a yatra, it won't fully be a padayatra (foot march like Rahul Gandhi did), rather it will be a hybrid yatra where Annamalai would travel on foot for hundred days and he will be covering the rest of the distance on a sophisticated campaign bus.
It has been reported that Annamalai has planned to visit at least two assembly segments and walk up to 9.5 kms on average each day. During this yatra, the BJP has also planned to conduct ten public meetings in ten towns. It is pertinent to note that the yatra was initially planned in April and it was deferred twice due to the Karnataka assembly polls during which Annamalai was BJP's co-incharge for the elections.
On Friday, Amit Shah launched the yatra in the presence of the leaders of the allied parties and hundreds of cadres. The Union Home Minister had arrived at Madurai airport afterwhich he had embarked on a chopper and reached Rameswaram. He was received by Annamalai and other senior leaders and the event had seen the presence of ADMK leader RB Udhayakumar, New Justice party leader AC Shanmugam, and Puthiya Tamilagam party leader K Krishnasamy.
During the inauguration, Amit Shah will also launch a book called 'What did Modi do?', which would carry the achievements of the Modi regime in the past nine years. The party has also planned to distribute 1 lakh copies of the book. Amit Shah will be staying in Rameswaram after the inauguration and on Saturday, he will be offering prayers at Ramanathaswamy Temple. Earlier in 2020, the then Tamil Nadu BJP chief L Murugan had conducted 'Vel Yatra' ahead of the 2021 assembly polls. However, the party had eventually won only four seats.
இராமேஸ்வரத்தில் என் மண் என் மக்கள் துவக்க விழாவில் மத்திய உள்துறை அமைச்சர் திரு.@AmitShah, நம் மாநில தலைவர் திரு.@annamalai_k மற்றும் தேசிய ஜனநாயக கூட்டணி தலைவர்கள், விழா மேடையில்..#EnMannEnMakkal pic.twitter.com/FVTxC8mDcK— BJP Tamilnadu (@BJP4TamilNadu) July 28, 2023
I bow to the people of Tamil Nadu for the massive turnout at the launch of ‘En Mann En Makkal’ Padyatra in Rameswaram. Looking forward to addressing this huge gathering.#EnMannEnMakkal pic.twitter.com/7i7CP9aEGB— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 28, 2023