Amit Shah abandons Kerala yatra

PM Modi calls meeting, BJP president rushes to New Delhi.

New Delhi: The BJP’s Janaraksha Yatra through Pinarayi, hometown of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was robbed of the presence of its major crowd puller, party’s national president Amit Shah, as he had to rush to New Delhi to attend a meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Yatra leader and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan announced at the last minute that Mr Shah would not be joining the much-hyped yatra through the Red citadel.

“I told him that he need not come to Pinarayi as we are capable of taking on the CPM of Pinarayi,” Mr Kummanam told BJP workers at Mambram, Pinarayi, where Thursday’s yatra began.

Mr Shah had launched the high profile 15-day yatra from Payyannur in Kannur on October 3 against the alleged “red and jihadi terrorism” under the CPI(M)-led LDF rule in Kerala.

His “sudden change of plan” left the BJP red-faced in Kerala as thousands of BJP workers and leaders were lined up with placards and posters to greet him.

Though the BJP claimed that Mr Shah was scheduled to return to Kerala to conclude his three-day long padyatra, he could not go back as the meeting with the PM got delayed.

Senior Marxist leader from Kannur, M.V. Govindan said, “In a democracy all political parties can take out yatras and there are no restrictions,” adding that Mr Shah skipping the march on Thursday was an “anti-climax.”

CPI(M) Thalassery MLA A.N. Shamseer said that Mr Shah had “abandoned” the yatra through “party gramam” (party village). Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala also took a dig at Mr Shah, saying the Janaraksha Yatra had become a “Vilapa Yatra” (mourning procession).

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