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Kerala yatra loses fizz as Amit Shah quits abruptly

06 October 2017

But, as BJP national president Amit Shah reaches Kannur again on Thursday to participate in the yathra, which will be passing through the CPM heartlands, including Pinarayi, the home village of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the situation looks a bit tense.

Meanwhile, Shah on Thursday skipped the second leg of the party's padayatra in Kerala to make himself available for a meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi. So that the BJP president is seen to be extraordinarily popular in Kerala, his supporters took to social media platforms showing images of massive crowds, who they implied had gathered to take part in Shah's yatra.

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Expecting Shah's participation, security was tightened along the road and hundreds of policemen were deployed at key points. The last minute withdrawal by Shah has come as a huge embarrassment to the local BJP leadership, which has been desperately trying to gain a foothold in Kerala. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of Congress said, "The Yatra now resembles a funeral procession".

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat also reportedly said: "Amit Shah is deliberately inciting violence against #CPIM leaders & its workers".

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Before the launch of the 15-day long yatra, Shah offered prayers at the famous Rajarajeswara Temple in Taliparamba of Kannur district.

BJP Kerala state president Rajasekharan confirmed that Shah had to attend a meeting with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi. The daily reported that even Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath's participation in the Yatra on Wednesday failed to create any ripples in the state. He said, "From 2000 to 2017, Kerala Police figures show, 85 CPI (M) workers and 65 RSS (and BJP) workers were killed". The party may organize more yatras led by Yogi in other states, he said.Political observer Sanjay Singh said, "Facing criticism over the economic slowdown, the BJP needs a leader who could galvanize the cadre before the assembly elections in crucial states , As Reported By Hindustan Times".

The BJP national president alleged almost 120 BJP workers, 84 in Kannur alone, were killed in Kerala since 2001 with 14 of them in Chief Minister Vijayan's home town since he took the reins a year ago.

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The concluding session of Yatra is expected to be addressed by Shah on October 17 at Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala yatra loses fizz as Amit Shah quits abruptly