PM Modi will fast but won’t skip DefExpo in Chennai

Chennai, April 11 :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fast on Thursday but that woould not stop him from inaugurating a major defence exhibition near Chennai city that has been on edge due to protests over Cauvery water issue, a Central Minister said on Wednesday.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that she would also fast to protest the disruption of Parliament by the opposition during the just-concluded Budget Session.

“I will be fasting. PM Modi is also fasting. Fasting is not going to stop him from coming here,” Sitharaman said, after opening the DefExpo 2018 that showcases India’s capability to manufacture arms and weapons platform systems.

The expo, themed “Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”, is a key facet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” slogan.

The DefExpo comes amid heightened protests across the southern state demanding setting up of the Cauvery Management Board. There is widespread anger over the central government dragging its feet in implementing the Supreme Court guidelines.

The opposition DMK has asked people in the state to wear black shirts and sarees during Modi’s visit to formally inaugurate the 10th edition of DefExpo.

DMK working President M.K. Stalin last week threatened that his party cadres would show black flags to Modi to protest against the Centre’s failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board.

There was a commotion in Chennai city on Tuesday evening as demonstrators squatted on roads and threatened to disrupt the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, to press for constitution of the Supreme Court-ordered board.

The top court in a February 16 judgment had directed the Centre to frame a water-sharing scheme between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala by March 29.