Kochi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday emphasised the BJP's significant focus on the opposition-dominated Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by conducting a massive roadshow in this port city, marking the second such event in the state where the party has had no success in the previous polls.
Thousands of BJP workers and local residents lined both sides of the 1.3 km road to welcome the Prime Minister, who visited the city for private, public, and party functions in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts on Wednesday.
Commencing from the KPCC junction at 7:45 pm, the open vehicle carrying Modi, accompanied by BJP state president K Surendran, traversed at a slow pace, captivating party workers who showered flowers and chanted slogans.
The procession covered a distance of 1.3 km in approximately 25 minutes.
Following the rousing welcome he received during the roadshow, Modi, in a post on social media platform X, said, "Humbled by the affection in Kochi. Sharing some glimpses" and shared photographs of the enthusiastic public response to his arrival in the southern state.
Thousands of people, including avid BJP supporters with flowers, garlands, and party flags, lined both sides of the 1.3-km roadshow route from KPCC junction here to the Ernakulam government guest house, where he would be staying.
The crowds gathered hours ahead of the Prime Minister's arrival, creating a festive atmosphere along the route of the roadshow.
Modi, wearing a waistcoat and a saffron nehru cap with lotus symbols, rode in an open vehicle and reciprocated the excitement by waving both hands at the cheering crowd on both sides of the brightly lit route.
The PM was showered with flowers throughout the route by people of all age groups, and he too threw flowers at the ardent supporters many times.
Enthusiastic BJP workers and supporters carrying party flags, wearing party hats or caps, and holding placards with Modi's photograph were lined up on both sides of the road and cheered him on with chants of 'Modi-Modi'.
The slowly moving vehicle reached the Ernakulam government guest
house around 8.15 pm, bringing the roadshow to an end.
The entire route was under a tight security net, with thousands of police personnel being deployed to ensure Modi's safety.
There had been traffic restrictions in place in the port city, especially along the roadshow route, since Tuesday afternoon.
This visit of Modi, to attend the marriage of daughter of actor-turned politician Suresh Gopi at the Guruvayoor temple on Wednesday, shows the significance the BJP national leadership places on the Thrissur seat, which is currently represented by Congress leader T N Prathapan.
The BJP strengthened its voter base in Thrissur during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the candidacy of Suresh Gopi.
Despite making sincere efforts since the 1980s, the saffron party has not been able to make much electoral progress in the southern state, where
power has consistently been held by the CPI(M)-led LDF or the Congress-led UDF.
To break their streak of not winning elections in the southern state, the BJP is capitalising on the growing popularity of the Prime Minister in Kerala.
They recently held a big roadshow and a large gathering of women in Thrissur in early January as part of their efforts to gain votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Earlier on Tuesday, the PM was accorded a warm welcome by Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after he arrived at the Cochin International Airport in Nedumbassery at 6.50 pm in a special aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
Thereafter, he left for the airport at the INS Garuda Naval Base by helicopter at 7 pm.
On Wednesday, at 6.30 am, Modi will leave for Guruvayur, where he will offer prayers at the famous Lord Krishna temple and attend the marriage of actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi's daughter, party sources said.
He will also offer prayers at Triprayar Sree Rama Swami Temple in Thrissur
district and then return to Kochi, the sources said.
On Kochi's Willingdon Island, he will dedicate to the nation the Cochin Shipyard Ltd international vessel repairing centre and a new dry dock, they said.
Subsequently, at 11 am, he will address a party meeting of around 6,000 in-charges of 'shakti kendras', each comprising two to three booth-level areas, at Marine Drive here.
He would return to Delhi by evening, the sources added.