PM Modi’s Strategic Push In Tamil Nadu: Can BJP Overcome Historic Challenges?

With multiple opinion polls suggesting an improved vote share for the BJP in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned hoping for value addition to his mission ‘Ab KiBaar, 400 Paar’ from a state that has rejected him over the past decade in two Lok Sabha elections.

After having made half a dozen visits to the Dravidian heartland over the past couple of months, criss-crossing topographies across regions, Modi will be back in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday for a two-day visit. In his second visit to the state capital in a month, he will hold a road-show in T Nagar, a central business district of Chennai, a retail shopping hub.

Modi’s chosen route for a roadshow on the Telugu New Year day, a closed holiday, falls within the Chennai South constituency. The party has taken a big gamble fielding Tamilisai Soundararajan, former Governor of Telangana and Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, to take on the DMK MP Sumathi alias Tamizhachi Thangapandian. The latter has been restrained in her campaign so far due to a fractured leg. The other key contender hereis former AIADMK MP Jayavardhan.

Initially, observers wrote off Tamilisai even sympathising with her for resigning as governor to fight a losing battle. Surprisingly, she has emerged as a dark horse unwilling to be a pushover. In the past fortnight, her outreach has resonated well with the common man thanks to her down-to-earth approach.

“Back then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had toured Tamil Nadu a dozen times hoping to emerge as the second largest party after the DMK. However, the Congress got 27 seats and came behind the AIADMK Jayalalithaa faction. No doubt Modi’s multiple campaigns will galvanise the BJP but the real game is not easy,” he said.

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