CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Chennai has been met with a wave of protests, especially over the Cauvery issue. Protestors have shown him black flags, launched giant black balloons and raised slogans like 'Modi go back'. This slogan has also been a top trend on Twitter.
The one protest that seems to have caught the imagination online is the giant black advertising balloon floated by the DMK. The black balloon had a simple message in stark white text: "Modi go back".
Protesters in pockets across the city held black flags and floated bunches of black balloons. The demonstrators who belonged to the DMK wore black shirts to make their point. They also released a photograph early in the day showing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, 93 years old and confined to a wheel chair, dressed in a black shirt.
The protest also consumed Twitter, where #ModiGoBack and #GoBackModi were among the top trends.
The protests and demonstrations against PM Modi are part of a demand from across the political spectrum that the Centre follow the orders of the Supreme Court and constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) immediately to apportion the waters of the Cauvery. The Centre has skipped on deadline after the other for the establishment of the CWMB.
The protests also come amid rising awareness and discontent over the Modi government's decision to use the population figures of the 2011 Census to decide the proportion of money sharing between the Centre and state governments. The move will adversely affected all the southern states, with Tamil Nadu estimated to lose at least Rs 40,000 crore per year.
PM Modi is in Chennai for the inauguration of the Defence Expo 2018 and had also opened new medical facilities at the Adyar Cancer Institute. He had attempted to allay the concerns in a speech in Chennai, saying his government is not against any particular region.
Actor-turned-politician had also written an open letter to Modi, questioning if the Centre is dithering on setting up the CWMB with an eye on the coming Assembly in Karnataka. He urged the Prime Minister to do his duty and set up the board in line with the Supreme Court's repeated instructions to that end.