PM gets black balloon welcome

PM gets black balloon welcome

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi's special aircraft began its descent into Chennai on Thursday morning, thousands of big black balloons with "GoBackModi" written all over them were released into the sky.

The novel way of protest was lapped up by all political parties whose cadre released black balloons in large numbers across Tamil Nadu to register their protest against Modi's "indecision" on the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board. Since the prime minister was air-borne for a major part of his day-long visit to Chennai avoiding the road fearing black flag protests, a fringe group, Tamizhaga Vaazhurimai Katchi, hit up on this idea to "stand out" in the massive crowd. As several vehicles carrying balloons were spotted on the roads, police deployed people to puncture them so that they are not released into the sky.

The balloon with the hashtag #GoBackModi trended at number 1 worldwide on Twitter.

At the end of Thursday, more than five lakh tweets had the mention of the hashtag on the micro-blogging site.

The tweets that were mostly critical of the Prime Minister, received tremendous response from social media users across the world. Social media wings of the Opposition DMK and other individuals who have huge followers, helped trend the hashtag by promoting and re-tweeting the tweets on #GoBackModi.

Black was the colour that dotted the blue skies of Chennai on Thursday with the gas balloons, specially designed to oppose the Prime Minister, showing up everywhere, even as black flags were hoisted atop houses of leaders of various political parties and cadre.

T Velmurugan, president of the Tamizhaga Vaazhurimai Katchi, told DH that he conceived the idea of releasing black balloons into the sky to draw the attention of the nation to the "injustice" being rendered to Tamil Nadu by the Union government in a peaceful way.

"We wanted to hold a peaceful protest that will make the entire country look at us and that is when we thought of releasing black balloons into the sky since the Prime Minister preferred to take to the skies even while moving from one place to another within the city," he said.

Cadres of the TVK spent sleepless nights for the past two days buying black balloons, filling gas and writing "GoBackModi" on them to be released on Thursday. "Our cadre alone let 1,000 balloons near the airport area," he said. Inspired by Velmurugan's novel idea, DMK also released giant balloons opposing Modi's visit while the special aircraft took off from Chennai Airport.

Former Chennai Mayor Ma Subramanian told DH that besides a giant balloon let out from atop his house in Saidapet, the party cadre released more than 2,000 small and medium-sized balloons near the airport area to "send a message" to the Prime Minister who refused to recognise "ground realities".

 

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