#GoBackModi trends on Twitter as the South ‘dissents’ PM’s visit: Chennai

The PM was in the city for the annual convocation at IIT Madras

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When you see #GoBackModi trending on Twitter, you can very easily guess where Prime Minister NarendraModi is at that moment. Drawing inspiration from the phrase “Simon, Go Back” in the revolution against the British rule in India, the people of Tamil Nadu have started a social media movement against the PM once again.

With more than 118K tweets at the time of writing this article, this hashtag has trended most notably during the election campaign in March, in April 2018 when the PM arrived to inaugurate the DefExpo arms exhibition and earlier this year in January when Modi arrived in Tamil Nadu to lay the foundation of a proposed AIIMS campus in Madurai.

On landing in Chennai, Modi made mention of his efforts to popularize the Tamil language in the US. He said, “During my visit to the United States of America, when I said something in Tamil and I told the world that Tamil is one of the world’s oldest languages, so even today, the language resonates across the United States.” However, this failed to impress the people of Tamil Nadu.

Modimade a number of references recently about the linguistic plurality of the country which appeared to be aimed at calming sentiments frayed by home minister Amit Shah’s comment that Hindi should be the unifying language of India.

What Twitter Users Said

A visit to Tamil Nadu is not the only occasion on which #GoBackModi has gone viral. In February, supporters of the then-ruling TDP had used the hashtag when Modi visited Andhra Pradesh to protest the Centre’s purported refusal to give special category status to the state.

#GoBackModi was also used used in the run-up to the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event in Houston last week.

Damage Control by the BJP

While #GoBackModi became the number one trending hashtag in India, the BhartiyaJanata Party (BJP) presumably tried to do some damage control by getting #TNWelcomesModi to start trending too. However, the Twitterati were quick to call them out on this.

These tweets from the people of Tamil Nadu reflect their anger towards the ‘step-motherly’ treatment they’ve received by the BJP and the PM’s alleged silence and inaction with issues related to the state. In the past, the tweets from users in Tamil Nadu listed introduction of NEET, Modi not visiting Tamil Nadu when Cyclone Gaja hit the state’s Cauvery Delta region, imposition of Sanskrit and Hindi and not protecting Tamil Nadu’s interests in water wars with neighboring states.

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