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Amit Shah to pitch for backward classes to strengthen BJP in Tamil Nadu

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-08-2017 PTI

Chennai: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah is likely to meet leaders representing backward and most backward classes as part of efforts to strengthen the party in Tamil Nadu during his three-day visit to the state beginning tomorrow.

Shah will be addressing leaders of backward classes from diverse backgrounds in Chennai on Tuesday. Also, their viewpoints on key issues and grievances, if any, will be heard and these will be taken to a logical conclusion, party sources said.

The move assumes significance against the backdrop of the Centre’s Constitutional Amendment Bill, providing constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes which is now with the Rajya Sabha Select Committee.

Also, in the Tamil Nadu’s perspective, uplift of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward, most backward and other marginalised classes has always been important. Both the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), dominant players in the state, have given top priority to it in their political narrative. Against such a background, sources said, the push for the growth of backward classes by Shah was coming at the right time after a similar exercise by the party in respect of SCs.

In 2015, Amit Shah had met Scheduled Caste groups in Madurai during his Tamil Nadu visit. He had at that time supported a demand by the Devendrakula Vellalar community for a name change. Later, a delegation of such SC groups had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had assured them that their demand will be considered positively. Strengthening the basic party unit at the booth level will be a key focus during Shah’s visit, the sources added.

Shah will hold discussions with office-bearers of a booth committee at Nadukuppam, which is primarily a neighbourhood of fishermen on 23 August. He is also scheduled to have breakfast at the residence of a grassroots level office-bearer at Nadukuppam. “We will replicate Shah ji’s model to strengthen our booth committees based on his interactions with our office bearers at Nadukuppam,” a party leader said, adding the top leader’s visit was primarily to strengthen the party’s organisational apparatus.

Out of about 65,000 booths in Tamil Nadu, BJP says it has presence in about 40,000 booths with functional committees. Shah is also likely to meet professionals like those working in the IT sector during his visit to Coimbatore on 24 August.

Also, some leaders from other political parties may join the BJP in his presence. Shah is also likely to address the media on Wednesday, according to his tentative schedule. He will arrive in Chennai on Tuesday, leave for Coimbatore on Wednesday evening, and leave for Delhi from there on Thursday.

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