New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa staged walk out of the crucial National Development Council (NDC) meeting called to discuss crucial issues including the sluggish economy and the women safety in the country.
Coming out of the Vigyan Bhawan, the venue of the meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said it was a "big humiliation" for her to be stopped from completing her speech at the NDC meeting.
She said the Centre came out with a "new method" of limiting the speeches of Chief Ministers to 10 minutes which was not enough to articulate their views.
Sources said each Chief Minister was allotted 10 minutes and was forewarned. Jayalalithaa had come to Page 10 out of her 28-page speech when the bell rang, they said.
Jayalalithaa 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."
"But I was told only 10 minutes will be allowed to each CM. On that, 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 Chief Minister 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 and 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."
"We get the impression that the government at the Centre is indifferent about reducing poverty...The Union Government, far from serving the common man, is conspiring against him by hiking the prices of essential commodities and inputs and appears more focused on facilitating the interests of foreign investors," she said.
"The regime at the Centre, caught up in the daily squabbles of its constituents, in merely trying to survive from day-to-day, has neither the time nor the inclination to pay attention to the problems of the people of this country," the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister 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.
She said even a simple request from a state PSU for a Digital Addressable System (DAS) Licence for Chennai City has not been granted on totally extraneous considerations and alleged that the delay is intended to facilitate the switching over of subscribers to a family-owned TV network, in a clear reference to Marans-owned network.
"The deliberate non-issuance of DAS licence to the state government-owned Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation is only to facilitate the business interests of a particular family which forms part of the ruling coalition at the Centre," she said.