Tamil Nadu is all set to witness a clash of titans in the coming days when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will hit the campaign trail in the State.
On Friday, an official statement from the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) confirmed that Ms. Gandhi will address a rally at Nagercoil on April 16. Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan inspected the event venue on Friday to set in motion preparatory works.
But the bigger news has come from the BJP camp, which is all set to unleash a ‘Modi blitzkrieg’ on Tamil Nadu. The PM candidate would tour the State for three days — April 13, 16 and 17 — and is set to attend seven public meetings in as many constituencies.
“According to the schedule we have drawn, Mr. Modi will arrive in Chennai on April 13 and canvass. He will leave Tamil Nadu and return on April 16 for meetings in Krishnagiri and Coimbatore. He will campaign at Salem, Erode, Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari on April 17,” said a senior vice president of the State BJP.
Sources said while Dharmapuri was the first choice, Krishnagiri was chosen on request of Paatali Makkal Katchi leader Anbumani Ramadoss as it was more strategically located for people from many other constituencies to attend the meeting. Salem was short-listed for DMDK’s sake whereas MDMK general secretary Vaiko preferred Erode instead of Virudhunagar. “Vaiko is confident of victory in Virudhunagar, so he wanted to boost party chances in Erode,” said the source.
On the Congress side, while Ms. Sonia’s visit has been confirmed, there was still no word on when Mr. Rahul will campaign in Tamil Nadu. “He is hoping to tour constituencies where youth congress candidates are contesting,” said a senior leader but added that the visit was is yet to be confirmed.