Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Thursday amid growing political turmoil over the Cauvery water issue and black flag protests by Opposition parties.
Modi, who arrived by a special aircraft from New Delhi, was received at the airport by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister E. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan.
After a brief reception, he left for Mamallapuram, about 55 km from here, from where he would reach the temple town of Tiruvidanthai to formally inaugurate the Defence Expo-2018, which began here on Wednesday.
Later, he would unveil the diamond jubilee plaque at the Adyar Cancer Institute.
Earlier, a press conference was planned with the Prime Minister at the IIT-Madras, adjacent to the Cancer Institute, but it failed to materialise.
The police have made tight security arrangements in view of the visit.
Meanwhile, opposition parties, inclduing the DMK, various fringe outfits and Tamil organisations greeted the Prime Minister with black flag protests to condemn the Centre for its failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as directed by the Supreme Court.
The six-week deadline set by the Apex Court ended on March 29 and the Centre, keeping the next month's Assembly elections in Karnataka in mind, filed a clarification plea in the Court at the last minute and sought three months time to implement its order, by which time the polling process in the neighbouring state would have been concluded.
DMK leader M.K. Stalin, along with his party cadres, protested in Sirkazhi, Nagapattinam district, by wearing black shirts.
The DMK has appealed to the people to hoist black flags atop their houses and stage demonstrations against the Prime Minister.
Activsits of fringe parties including the Tamizhaga Vaazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) led by T. Velmurugan, Tamil Nationalist Movement headed by P. Nedumaran also staged demonstration in front of the Alandur Metro station in Chennai.
MLAs Tamimum Ansari and Thaniarasi along with SDPI members were arrested in Tirisoolam near the airport.
Similarly, members of the newly-formed Tamilaga Kalai Illakiya Panpattu Maiyam by noted filmmakers Bharathiraaja, Ameeer, Gouthaman and Thangarbachan, were also arrested as they staged a black flag protest at the airport.
As the political atmosphere in the state remained tense and surcharged following unending protests on the Cauvery issue, the remaining six IPL matches of the Chennai Super Kings were shifted to Pune.