Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, led by the DMK, on Thursday staged a black-flag protest, condemning the alleged failure of the Central and State governments in combating COVID-19 and the economic impact of the lockdown. The parties also opposed the reopening of Tasmac liquor outlets.

Leaders and functionaries of the parties, including DMK president M.K. Stalin, TNCC leader K.S. Alagiri and MDMK founder Vaiko, staged protests from their respective homes or party offices.

Later, Mr. Stalin, in a statement, said that the slogans raised by the people highlighting the failure of the government in controlling the spread of COVID-19 should have echoed in the ears Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and created alarm. “The Chief Minister must give up his indifference and lackadaisical approach and focus on preventing the further spread of the disease which has assumed dangerous proportions,” he said.

Lack of planning

Reiterating that it was a mistake to conclude that the lockdown alone would eradicate the disease, Mr. Stalin said that proper planning and a scientific approach would have prevented the spread of the virus from the Koyambedu market to other districts.

He also alleged that allowing people to crowd in the market had thoroughly exposed the government’s failure in implementing the lockdown.

Mr. Stalin said that the decision to open liquor shops had shown the government’s irresponsibility, because it was known to everyone that it would result in community spread.

He also demanded that ₹5,000 each be given to the poor as assistance. At the CPI(M) office, the party’s polit bureau member G. Ramakrishnan, State secretary K. Balakrishnan and Secretariat member K. Kanagaraj raised slogans against the government.

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