When a desperate man stranded away from home owing to COVID-19 lockdown in Tamil Nadu tweeted an SoS seeking to be with his nine months pregnant wife, he might not have anticipated quick help to come from Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
Faiz Arshi was overwhelmed when officials swung into action and issued him a travel pass to reach his home. Also, a medical team visited his wife and comforted her.
He is not alone.
Numerous messages on social media seeking help and information on subjects varying from doubts related to farming and relief have been receiving prompt response from Palaniswami on his official Twitter handle "@CMOTamilNadu since the lockdown last month.
Harnessing the power of social media, Palaniswami seems to have struck a personal chord with citizens-cum-netizens, not only interacting with them but ensuring redressal of their grievances.
Palaniswami, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and Health Secretary Beela Rajesh, both medical doctors, and another cabinet member SP Velumani are active on the social media, responding promptly to queries posed by the affected people as well as taking up concerns of those stranded in other states.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's official Twitter handle issues regular updates, even as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M K Stalin and the state Bharatiya Janata Party are also active on the microblogging site.
However, Palaniswami seems to have made good use of the opportunity to directly interact with citizens, who are confined indoors due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
Whether responding to a couple in distress or advising a 'thambi' (younger brother) on coconut farming, the AIADMK veteran seems to be in a comfort zone.
Interestingly, his mentor and late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa did not have a presence in social media.
Faiz tagged Palaniswami and put out a message last week that there was nobody to attend to his pregnant wife as he was stranded in a neighbouring district due to the lockdown and there was no response to his attempts to get travel pass.
"My 9-month pregnant wife and I are expecting our first child. There is no one to help her," he tweeted.
Palaniswami replied and sought his contact number and soon the government machinery was rolling and he was issued a pass to join his wife. The chief minister's humane touch also came to fore when he comforted a man mourning his mother's demise.
The man could not reach Tirunelveli in the state as he was stranded in a foreign country due to the lockdown.
However, when the person expressed grief on Twitter that he could not even see his mother's face for the last time before she was cremated, Palaniswami conveyed his heartfelt condolences and counselled him and his family to bear the loss.
The chief minister, who often calls himself a farmer, also had some words of wisdom for a fellow ryot.
When a person on the social networking site sought to know from the chief minister if he could harvest coconuts from his farm and transport it, Palaniswami replied "most certainly, thambi (younger brother)."
Its not the common man alone he is taking note of and Palaniswami has been pro-active in responding to requests for help from his counterparts in other states and political leaders to people from their states stranded in Tamil Nadu and vice-versa.
Similarly, he is also taking up the cause of Tamilians stranded in other parts including in Maharashtra, sending tweets to the official handles of his counterparts.
Sample this: "Dear @BjpBiplabji, We will definitely take care of them. I have informed my team to provide the necessary resources. Together let's fight #COVID19. Thank you!"
This was Palaniswami's response to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb when he tweeted seeking help to provide food, accommodation, security and healthcare to the people of his state stranded in Tamil Nadu.
Vijayabaskar and Beela Rajesh also constantly update their social media pages on the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Local Administration Minister Velumani and the Greater Chennai Corporation also keep the citizens informed with various updates on their respective pages.