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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1587

Upset Jayalalithaa walks out of NDC meeting

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 28 December ( :

Jayalalithaa.jpgTami Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa walked out of the National Development Council meeting in Delhi on Thursday after being interrupted during her speech.

"I was barely able to finish one third of my speech. To show my protest, I have walked out of the NDC meet. I began my speech; they rang the bell soon after. This is humiliating," Jayalalithaa told media persons.

"We are not being allowed to present our views," she added, while accusing the Centre of suppressing the voices of the chief ministers.

The country's apex planning body National Development Council, a body of all chief ministers and key Union ministers headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , is holding a meeting in New Delhi to approve the 12th five year plan.

Jayalalithaa also alleged that no reasonable and legitimate suggestions made by states were mentioned in the draft plan document. Jayalalithaa said she had come prepared with several points to "enlighten the interest of Tamil Nadu and the interest of the nation."

"But I was told only 10 minutes will be allowed to each CM. If we speak beyond the allotted 10 minutes then a bell would ring. I began my speech and as the 10 minutes were up, they rang a bell. It was a big humiliation," she said. The Tamil Nadu CM said there had been many occasions where the chief ministers were allowed to speak for 25 to 35 minutes.

"To show my protest, I have walked out of the NDC meeting because the plan document itself is so lengthy and encompasses so many subjects. Just by allowing 10 minutes and humiliating us in this way, they need not have to call us all the way to Delhi to participate in this meeting," she said. "It stifled the voice of the chief ministers who are in the opposition," she said.

In her speech, Jayalalithaa said she found that no reasonable and legitimate suggestion from the states had been accepted. The "big brotherly and undemocratic approach of superimposing on elected state governments the dubious policies, priorities and programmes of a minority ruling coterie in Delhi has prevailed," she said.

Jayalalithaa accused the Centre of being "completely ineffective" in playing its constitutional role in ensuring that the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal is duly notified so that it can be implemented and the rights of Tamil Nadu as a lower riparian state are protected. "The central government has also failed in protecting the citizens of the country -- the fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu -- from attacks across the maritime boundary," she said.

Reacting to Jayalalithaa charges, the Centre said that no leader should make political capital at such events. “The Prime Minister showed a gesture by giving an opportunity to her to speak first, immediately after his speech, though her turn was to come much later. The time allotted to each Chief Minister is precisely 10 minutes,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla told reporters.

He reasoned that since there was a long list of speakers, including 35 Chief Ministers, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, the Finance Minister and the Agriculture Minister, the time allocated to each had been fixed.

“The same arrangement has been made for Chief Ministers of Congress and non-Congress ruled states. The buzzer is being pressed even for the Congress Chief Ministers. So where is the discrimination? The leaders should not make political capital out of such events,” Mr. Shukla said.

- Asian Tribune -

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