(Eds: Adds details) Chennai, Nov 21 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday sprang a surprise here when he virtually broke protocol to get out of his vehicle and walk on the busy GST Road outside the airport to greet supporters, minutes after he landed here for a two-day visit of the city.
Shah, who thanked the metropolis for its love, said it was 'great' to be in Tamil Nadu.
Police detained a man for allegedly flinging a placard when Shah was walking outside the airport.
'I arrived in Chennai! I am always happy to be in Tamil Nadu. Today I am addressing my beloved Tamil brothers and sisters through various programmes!' he said, tweeting in Tamil.
Several hundreds of AIADMK members joined the BJP cadres in according a rousing reception to Shah.
A political observer commented that Shah's visit was more political and crucial too, and was aimed at fine tuning the strategy to face the Assembly poll next year.
'Going by the reception accorded by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, state ministers and cadres to Shah, it can be construed that the AIADMK is trying to convey that all is well on the alliance front, despite its opposition to the Vel yatra,' he said.
'There are no differences between the two parties. The alliance will continue in all likelihood,' BJP spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy said, even as AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam and Co-Coordinator K Palaniswami later announced that the alliance would continue.
The entire stretch of the GST road was swathed in BJP and AIADMK flags, and hundreds of people lined up on either side of the road to welcome the home minister.
Police had a tough time in controlling the crowd. There was a mild flutter when police detained a man, allegedly for flinging a placard, as Shah walked to greet the people.
The man, later identified as Durairaj, was whisked away by police.
Traffic was blocked from the airport to the Pallavaram bus stop for some time and it eased after the leaders left the airport.
Shah later inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for projects worth over Rs 67,000 crore, including phase II of Chennai Metro Rail.
Soon after his arrival from Delhi, Shah was received by Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and BJP State President L Murugan, among others, before proceeding to the city hotel where he will be put up.
However, after exiting the airport, Shah's car suddenly stopped and the BJP veteran got out, before walking a short distance, waving at scores of BJP and AIADMK workers who had gathered to receive him with their respective party flags.
Accompanied by BJP National General Secretary and party in-charge of poll-bound Tamil Nadu, C T Ravi and Murugan, with his security detail in tow, the Home Minister warmly waved at the overjoyed supporters who had thronged the airport since the morning.
A heavy security cover has been provided in the city following Shah's visit.
In a tweet, he said 'It is always great to be in Tamil Nadu.' 'Thank you Chennai for this love and support,' he said in the tweet accompanying a video clip of his walk on GST Road.
Shad had earlier been here in August 2019 to release a book on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu's two years in office then. PTI JSP SA APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR