New Delhi: The National Development Council meeting in New Delhi began on a stormy note on Thursday with AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who does not enjoy cordial relations with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government, accusing the Centre of stifling the voices of opposition-ruled states and then in a dramatic act walked out of the venue. Jayalalithha said that her walkout was to register her protest against the Centre's attitude towards chief ministers belonging to opposition parties.
Jayalalithaa could not finish her speech at the NDC meet as the bell rang after 10 minutes, which was the time allotted to every chief minister to make his/her comments. Protesting against the time limit, Jayalalithaa, who was at the 10th page of her 28-page speech when the bell rang, blamed the Centre of taking no note of the reasonable and legitimate suggestions made by states in the draft 12th Five Year Plan document and walked out.
Jayalalithaa said she felt humiliated on being interrupted during her speech. "I began my speech, as soon 10 minutes were over, they rang the bell, I felt humiliated," Jayalalithaa said.
"I have attended many conferences before convened by the PM, such a procedure has never been followed in the past," she added. She also said 10 minutes were not enough for a chief minister to complete his or her speech. "The plan document is so lengthy and encompasses so many subjects that CMs can't express their views in 10 minutes. Just to allot 10 minutes and humiliate, this is a move to stifle the voice of opposition states," she said.
She immediately left for Chennai cutting short her stay. Jayalalithaa said she had come prepared with several points to "enlighten the interest of Tamil Nadu and the interest of the nation."
Sources in the government clarified saying that every chief minister was asked to speak for 10 minutes since the NDC meet is a day-long meet and there were several issues on the agenda. Jayalalithaa was reportedly on page 10 of her 28-page speech when the bell rang.
The National Development Council meet will look at the approval of the 12th Five Year Plan. Other Chief Ministers including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi were also attending the meet.
(With additional information from PTI)