New Delhi, Apr 12: Black flags, balloon, and slogans such as ‘Go Back Modi’ greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday as he arrived Chennai to inaugurate the Defence Expo 2018. PM Modi landed at Chennai airport at 9.35 am amidst a sea of protests over central government’s failure for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). In a bid to avoid protesters, the prime minister chose a helicopter to reach Tiruvidanthai from Chennai airport where he opened the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry.

Protests were also held with black flags and placards throughout Tamil Nadu in cities like Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Coimbatore and Tuticorin against the Prime Minister’s brief visit to the state. #GoBackModi trended on top as netizens took to social media to protest against the central government’s failure to set up the CMB as directed by the Supreme Court to ensure proper sharing of Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and other states.

PM Modi, who flew from one venue to another to avoid the threatened black flag protests over the Cauvery issue, could not escape it at the IIT Madras. The prime minister faced a silent protest by some 30 students dressed in black and carrying posters when he visited the Adyar Cancer Institute. He walked a few steps from the helicopter to the car that ferried him to the institute. As he did so, he encountered some 30 students from IIT Madras who stood silently with placards demanding a Cauvery Management Board.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin, who was on a padayatra of the Cauvery delta areas, wore black shirt and trousers as he protested along with state Congress President Thirunavukkarasar and CPI-M state unit chief Mutharasan. “The Prime Minister may be flying in the air today but he has to come down when the elections come,” he said taking a dig at Modi. A black flag was hoisted at DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s residence. The ailing leader wore a black shirt.

DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and leaders of DMK allies wore black dress and marched on the road near the Chennai airport. While MDMK chief Vaiko held a black flag protest in Velachery, Naam Thamizhar Katch convenor Seeman, a film director, was arrested elsewhere. Vaiko called Modi a “coward” for choosing to fly.

In the morning outside the Chennai airport, activists of the Federation for protection of Tamil Art and Culture, led by noted film director Bharatiraja and other film personalities like Amir, Gautaman and Vetrimaran protested against Modi’s visit. They were arrested.

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre, saying the BJP was interested only in winning the Assembly elections in Karnataka. Even the hugely-popular IPL cricket matches have been shifted out of Chennai to Pune in view of the disturbances on Tuesday. (With agency inputs)