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THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 12 APRIL, 2018

#GoBackModi: United on Cauvery Tamil Nadu Forces PM Off Its Roads, Into the Air

Vaiko calls PM ‘coward’


NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: In what is a first Prime Minister Narendra Modi was compelled to use helicopters and get off the roads, as protestors lined the approach road from the airport into Chennai wearing black bands, black clothes, and carrying black balloons. PM had little choice but to fly for his engagements in a chopper with the slogan #GoBackModi trending on the social media within hours.

The PM is in Chennai to inaugurate DefExpo, an event that had been shifted with some fanfare by the Ministry of Defence to Tamil Nadu. Major international players participate in this defence exhibition but the PM instead of driving down toThiruvidanthai on the outskirts of Chennai had to take the chopper instead to avoid the determined mass of protestors and their “GoBackModi” flags. The chopper was ready to take the PM to IIT Madras campus as well, where he was attending a programme at the adjoining Adyar Cancer Institute.

MDMK Vaiko, not one to be left behind, called the PM a “coward” for taking a chopper and not travelling on the roads.

As reported earlier, the entire opposition including the DMK, Left, Kamal Haasan and even Rajnikanth supporters hit the streets on the emotive Cauvery Waters Issue. The anger in the southern state is palpable against the Centres failure to form a Cauvery Water Management Board. The Supreme Court has also now put the centre on notice, giving it till May 3 to frame the structure. Interestingly, the Modi government had asked for time till after the Karnataka elections on May 12 which the SC has disallowed, fixing May 3 deadline instead.

Karnataka has also erupted in regular protests on the same issue in the past. The silence of the government is seen to be working to the poll bound state’s advantage as a result of which Tamil Nadu came out on the streets. Water is a major controversy between the two neighbours with the government caught in a complete bind. Prominent persons, including film celebrities, led the protests.

DMK leader MK Stalin who had taken the initiative was particularly happy with the outcome. Tweeting the photographs he said, "As you fly see the black flags reflecting our sentiments. People are hoisting black flags at homes . Wake up at least now. Withdraw the SC petition, otherwise the fire of black will not be extinguished".

Six IPL matches have been derailed because of the protests, with at least one incident of shoes being hurled on the players. These matches have been shifted to Pune with the announcement made by IPL Chairperson Rajiv Shukla last night.

The PM’s route was shifted to the air as it were, but also on the road major changes were made. In fact a wall between IIT Madras and the cancer institute has been razed to the ground to open a new route for him.

The anger against the centre in Tamil Nadu is widespread making it impossible for the state AIADMK government to even attempt stopping the protesters from gathering on the approach road from the airport to the city. Every person ---be it the taxi driver or the shopkeeper in Chennai---has Cauvery waters on his or her lips with the Prime Minister being castigated for not taking a stand and forming the body to implement the apex court’s water sharing formula. The anger is further fuelled by what the local state politicians have been describing openly as “appeasement of Karnataka” in election year.
 

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