THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 27 JANUARY, 2019
CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone at Madurai for an All India Institute for Medical Sciences while Twitter went mad with #GoBackModi as netizens poured their anger onto the microblogging site.
#TNWelcomesModi that made a valiant effort to counter the #GoBackModi fell back through the course of the day with the the ‘Go Back” hashtag far eclipsing the welcome by over thousands of tweets.
The tweets record anger over a large number of issues: that the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for AIIMS at least two years after promising to do so; that he did not visit the cyclone Gaja districts of Tamil Nadu that left more than three lakh homeless, destroyed and crops and 11 lakh trees; his silence over the Sterlite shooting in Tuticorin where at least 13 protestors were shot dead by the police; the drought that deepened agrarian distress in the state; the Cauvery waters issue where the central government is perceived as having supported the Karnataka government stand and a host of other such issues.
The Twitter storm emerged from cyber space to make headlines as the ferocity of tweets against PM Modi intensified. Thousands shared an illustration with the Tamil Nadu map outline with the late rationalist leader EVR Periyar saying “Go Back Modi”. And the Prime Minister is shown running towards a ladder lowered from a hovering chopper, wearing of course a saffron jacket.
PM Modi has faced this once before in Chennai, last year when visited the state for the Defence Expo. Opposition workers took the lead in releasing black balloons with the hashtag GoBack Modi. (Cover photo then. And the Prime Minister had to take a chopper to avoid the protestors while visiting IIT Madras.
The BJP has dismissed the campaign as “paid” for. However, this did not stop the hashtag from acquiring a world wide status on Twitter with several insisting that the BJP was now trying to electorally exploit the AIIMS project, with Modi laying the foundation stone just before the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.