While #GoBackModi had garnered around 2,19,000 tweets by 9am, #TNWelcomes Modi had 2,32,000 tweets.
Modi will be in Madurai city on Sunday to lay the foundation stone for an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He will also inaugurate the super speciality blocks of Rajaji Medical College (Madurai), Thanjavur Medical College and Tirunelveli Medical College.
While Twitterati using #TNWelcomesModi and #MaduraiThanksModi welcomed the setting up of AIIMS in Tamil Nadu, those tweeting #GoBackModi targeted the PM and the BJP over various issues, including the Centre’s alleged tilt towards Karnataka in the Cauvery water sharing dispute, the attempt to “impose” Hindi language on states and the decision to hold online exams twice a year for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).
NEET has been a sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu, with political parties opposing it right from day one. The protests against NEET escalated following the suicide of an anti-NEET petitioner, S Anitha, in 2017, after she failed to clear the exam. Another girl had also taken the extreme step, allegedly over her failure to clear NEET last year.
MDMK chief Vaiko has also threatened that his party would stage a black flag demonstration against Modi and the BJP for “ignoring” Tamil Nadu’s interests. “The demonstration is not against the AIIMS, but against Modi and his government, which is neglecting and functioning against the interests of Tamil Nadu,” PTI quoted an MDMK leader as saying.
The PM’s visit assumes significance as the BJP has been trying to cobble up an alliance with the ruling AIADMK to make inroads in a state which has kept the saffron party at bay. While the DMK and the Congress have struck a partnership for upcoming Lok Sabha elections with MK Stalin even endorsing Rahul Gandhi for PM, the AIADMK, dealing with internal troubles, is making the BJP wait.
Addressing BJP’s booth-level workers via video conferencing earlier this month, Modi had said the party is open to alliance and cherished its old friends, an apparent overture to the AIADMK.
The BJP had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu leading a six-party alliance comprising smaller parties, including the DMDK, the PMK and Vaiko-led MDMK, and won two of the 39 seats — one each by the saffron party and PMK.
However, all five parties snapped ties with the BJP later.
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