Reporter's diary: Once out of power, black back in vogue

The MLAs of the opposition party and their supporters camping in the MLA hostel were scurrying for garment showrooms in search of ‘black’ shirts.
Police personnel detain AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami and party leaders during a protest against Tamil Nadu assembly speaker Appavu, in Chennai, October 19, 2022.
Police personnel detain AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami and party leaders during a protest against Tamil Nadu assembly speaker Appavu, in Chennai, October 19, 2022.PTI

CHENNAI: Wearing black shirts to register protest and discontent was an age-old practice of Dravidian parties. But the same is unwelcome when these parties are in power. It was a protocol not to allow the public or journalists to sport black shirts/T-shirts on the premises of the Secretariat or Chief Minister’s programme.

Many were caught unaware of this unwritten law as the people in power developed strong dislikes for dissent and the colour of dissent.

Being in power for a decade, the leaders of AIADMK were accustomed to this typical culture. However, they were desperate for the black shirts on the eve of the protest announced by AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami against Speaker M Appavu for the latter’s “biased” approach over seat arrangements in the Assembly.

The MLAs of the opposition party and their supporters camping in the MLA hostel were scurrying for garment showrooms in search of ‘black’ shirts.

One of the MLAs said everyone was in desperate need of a black shirt as the party leader directed them to participate in the hunger strike (on October 19) to register their protest against the Speaker.

All of a sudden, the black shirts ran out of the shelves in the garment showroom on Mount Road and many took cars to go far and wide to get one. The race for the black shirt peaked as hours passed as the MLAs, their supporters and party functionaries in Chennai went on a shopping spree to turn up in black dress code to please their leader.

“Super, I got it (shirt). Black is good,” an overwhelming MLA said after his sustained efforts ended on a positive note.

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