Vande Bharat flag-off on Modi’s 2-day Kerala schedule, BJP plans mega rally

Kerala BJP plans grand reception at Thiruvananthapuram airport, mega road show in Kochi

Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur Vande Bharat PM Modi Vishu gift
The BJP has described the Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur Vande Bharat Express as the PM’s “Vishu kaineettam” (Vishu gift) to Kerala. The train reached Ernakulam from Thiruvananthapuram on its second trial run on Wednesday | Video grab: Twitter/ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off Kerala’s first Vande Bharat Express train from Thiruvananthapuram on the second day of his two-day visit to the state on April 24-25. He is expected to attend a host of other programmes, too.

The state BJP unit, which is making all arrangements to accord a grand reception to the PM, shared a poster on Facebook announcing his visit, saying the “world leader” was coming to Kerala and tens of thousands of people would take part in a huge road show in Kochi on April 24.

They did not specify whether the PM himself would take part in the road show but said Modi would be given a grand reception at the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram when he arrives to flag off the semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express on April 25.

Watch: First Vande Bharat train rakes reach Kerala

Vishu gift

“It is a historic moment that Kerala is waiting for,” the BJP said, describing the Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur Vande Bharat train as the PM’s “Vishu kaineettam” (Vishu gift) to the state.

Modi is also likely to travel with a group of schoolchildren in the new train and interact with them, sources added.

With the general elections only about a year away, the party is trying to give maximum publicity to the allotment of the train to the state.

The BJP leaders drew parallels between Vande Bharat and the state government’s shelved SilverLine project and claimed that while the Pinarayi Vijayan government tried to bring development by evicting thousands of people, the Modi government was doing it without causing difficulty to anyone.

Also read: Kerala can have SilverLine without displacing people: Minister

Minority outreach

Modi is also visiting the southern state amid the saffron party’s massive minority outreach programme that has apparently evoked a positive response from a section of priests of various Christian denominations.

The party leaders’ recent visit to Christian families and their breakfast meetings with some priests in the community are being viewed as part of their efforts to reach out to minorities ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

The party believes Modi’s visit would give an impetus to their ongoing campaign and kickstart the party’s bid for the 2024 general election.

(With agency inputs)