Black balloons and pigeons with black ribbons took to the skies with hard messages protesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Chennai for the Defence Expo at Thiruvidanthai, 40 km from the city, on Thursday as all the political parties, sans the ruling AIADMK, stepped up their Cauvery agitation to top decibels.
With the Prime Minister using the defence helicopter through almost his entire trip — airport-DefExpo-IIT-airport — to avoid the black flag demonstrations, the Cauvery protesters claimed yet another ‘victory’ close on the heels of the success in ‘driving away’ the IPL from Chennai. The chopper hops also drew some snide comments from the protest-leaders; for instance, DMK working president M. K. Stalin wondered if the PM would get his votes (during elections) from the skies without bothering to come down to the people and their real woes. He was speaking at Cuddalore at the end of his marathon march for Cauvery, which he had launched at Tiruchy on April 7.
In the short road trip within the IIT to speak at the adjoining Cancer Institute, the PM faced a low-intensity protest as some students raised placards against his government for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board despite the Supreme Court order of February 16 setting a deadline of six weeks. The hashtag #GoBackModi in twitter did brisk traffic, apart from the on-ground demos such as sloganeering and blocking roads in several parts of Chennai and elsewhere in the state.