Recalling similar black flag protests in which he took part in his younger days against then Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and how they faced those protests in a democratic manner, DMK working president M K Stalin on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have acted like a courageous leader instead of using a chopper for his short distance trips in Chennai, fearing protests.
While addressing a gathering of farmers in Cuddalore, Stalin said he will not blame the PM for using a chopper to reach the Defence Expo venue from Chennai airport as it was outside the city. “But why did he use a chopper to reach the airport from the Cancer institute venue?” Stalin said. “It was a short distance. Instead of taking a road route like a courageous leader, he flew a distance that he could have covered in less than five minutes by road. This is the fate of a Prime Minister in India. At least during the polls, remember, you will have to touch the ground and face people. Modi thinks he can evade all protests if he flies high. But he will have to come down finally,” he added.
While the DMK working president concluded his week-long road march along the Cauvery delta region, at a public rally in Cuddalore today evening, a huge vehicle rally led by the party is expected to reach Chennai city on Friday. A senior DMK leader said Stalin and leaders of nine opposition parties are expected to leave Cuddalore on Friday morning. “We have an appointment with Governor Banwarilal Purohit tomorrow noon. The vehicle rally will enter Chennai by noon and we will meet the Governor with petitions from the people,” he said.
Senior police officials are busy negotiating with the DMK leadership over the vehicle rally in the city as traffic has been disrupted for the past four days due to a series of protests. “A minimum of 1,000 vehicles are expected to follow the convoy of Stalin. We are requesting them to enter the city with about 10 vehicles by dispersing the vehicle rally before Tambaram (city gateway),” a senior officer said.
Meanwhile, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy boycotted PM Modi’s Chennai event on Thursday. While talking to the media, Narayanasamy said PM Modi could have constituted the Cauvery Water Management Board in a single day as per the Supreme Court order. “But for political opportunism, the Centre is cheating the farmers in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. I did not attend PM Modi’s meeting and demand the Centre’s immediate decision on the Cauvery issue,” he said.
In an emotional speech against the PM’s visit, MDMK leader Vaiko, who protested in the city, said when India celebrates its independence day in 2047, it will be split into pieces. “Many states will become separate countries, and Tamil Nadu will be one among them,” Vaiko said.
Naam Tamilar party leader and a fiery oratory, Seeman, questioned what was the need for the Centre to organise a defence expo in Tamil Nadu when people are busy protesting over several issues. “This army had never come to save us when our people were in trouble, when our people were killed in fire, when they drowned to death, only we have been helping ourselves. This army was not there to save the people,” he said.
A 25-year-old youth committed suicide in Erode district to protest against the Centre’s stand on the water issue and PM Modi’s visit. A senior police officer, who is probing the case, said the victim B Dharmalingam, a small time vendor, committed suicide after writing on his house wall that he strongly opposed PM Modi’s visit to Tamil Nadu. His message on the wall also urged the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board.