Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was visiting Chennai for the Defence Expo, would not have expected the kind of reception he got in the city. Hours before his arrival, protest against his visit had begun.

“Go back Modi. Down down Modi,” were the slogans raised by protesters who had assembled near the airport and other protest locations. Their concern was simple, the Centre has betrayed the people of Tamil Nadu.

“What right does Modi have to visit Chennai? He is a coward. He has betrayed the people of Tamil Nadu,” said MDMK leader Vaiko, who carried a black flag and also released black balloons in the air.

Pazha Nedumaran, senior politician and President of Ulaga Thamizhar Peramaippu, said, “We want the Centre to listen to our demands. It is only electoral politics that the Centre is doing now. There is no government in Tamil Nadu. It is only a dummy government working on the instructions of the Centre.”

DMK MP Kanimozhi too staged a black flag protest and blamed the Centre for scoring electoral brownie points in Karnataka. Party patriarch Karunanidhi too had black flag hoisted at his residence and pictures of him in black shirt was also released.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan too made his presence felt today. Apart from releasing a video, he also sent an open letter to Modi speaking about the urgent need for the Centre to clarify its stand and form the Cauvery Management Board.

“It is your duty as the prime minister of our country to act immediately as per the Supreme Court order. You have to constitute Cauvery Water Management Board for the betterment of Tamil and Kannada people.”

While a huge number of people were dressed in black showing their disappointment towards Modi and the Centre, there was one important face who was silent – superstar Rajinikant.

The megastar had commented on the IPL issue and even suggested the players to wear a black band. However, today Rajini maintained a deafening silence.

“The silence of Rajinikanth is deafening. When the entire Tamil community has erupted against Modi and #GiBackModi was trending on social media, he should have expressed his opinion on this. His silence strengthens the perception that Rajini is the shadow team of BJP. The people of Tamil Nadu are intelligent enough to gauge this aspect of Rajinikanth,” said DMK Spokesperson A Saravanan.

“Rajinikanth is good friends with the PM, so it would have been awkward for him to associate with a #gobackmodi sentiment. Besides, he would not like to conduct himself in a brash manner,” pointed analyst TS Sudhir.

“He has already clarified that he will comment on the issues only after he enters politics. Yes, he has been commenting on some issues, but selectively. He has chosen to remain silent on many issues. So, we have to wait till he enters politics full time. I think he has a right to comment on what he wishes to. So far, most of his comments have been sensible,” added analyst Sumanth C Raman.

Interestingly, Rajini had tweeted on April 11 about his disappointment in the way protesters had conducted themselves at the Chepauk stadum.

“Rajini had already taken a position against the manner in which the likes of Velmurugan, Seeman outfits indulged in violence. A tweet that was welcomed by both BJP and AIADMK. Therefore, it is obvious which side Rajini is on,” said Sudhir.

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