Madurai/Tenkasi: Raising issues that have emotional appeal for locals, BJP leader L K Advani on Friday tried to make inroads into the rural heartland of Tamil Nadu during his yatra.

Starting the second leg of his Jan Chetna Yatra against corruption from Madurai yesterday, Advani claimed the response received in Tamil Nadu had been "stupendous".

 "I would not deny that from organisational point of view, the party is not so strong in Tamil Nadu. Yet I must say that the response in Tamil Nadu has been unprecedented and stupendous. The response was so fantastic, despite the rains I was overwhelmed by the scene in Madurai yesterday," Advani said to a responsive crowd in Tenkasi where he addressed a meeting in the coastal state.

Advani addressed at least half a dozen public meetings while passing through rural Tamil Nadu and reached Kerala late Friday evening.

Advani not only raised the issue of nuclear safety that has been agitating the locals and asked the government for reconsidering the setting up of Koodankulam nuclear plant keeping in view the safety but also joined ranks with the locals on other highly emotive issues.

The BJP leader condemned as "reprehensible attacks"  on Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy and sought rehabilitation of Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka with dignity and security.

Elated to see a huge crowd awaiting him at Tenkasi, Advani said "I wish I could speak in your beautiful Tamil."

Raising the pitch against the UPA, Advani talked of the black money stashed abroad in foreign banks and other tax havens and played the rural card saying "if all the money of Rs 25 lakh crores in Swiss banks and other tax havens is brought back, I would urge the government to spend all that money on rural India and the six lakh villages in the country. Then, not a single village will remain without water, electricity, schools, hospitals."

(Agencies)