New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa may have walked out of the National Development Council (NDC) meeting on Thursday protesting against 10-minute cap on her speech, but this time limit had already been communicated to the states on Wednesday.
Secretary in the Planning Commission Sindhushree Khullar had sent a letter to Chief Secretaries of the states conveying that the maximum time permissible to each Chief Minister would be 10 minutes because of time constraints.
"The written speeches of the Chief Ministers/state governments/administrators will be circulated. But due to time constraints, the maximum permissible time that would be allotted for each speaker from the floor is 10 minutes.
"Therefore, for smooth and timely conduct of the meeting, it is requested that the written text of the speech from the floor (10 minutes duration) may be made available to us, preferably in advance. I request you to kindly cooperate in adhering to the time limits," according to Khullar's letter.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister walked out of the NDC meeting here after she had to stop reading her speech when the 10-minute limit ended.
Jayalalithaa, who was on Page 10 of her 28-page speech at that time, hit out at the central government, accusing it of "stifling" the voice of Chief Ministers by restricting their speeches and termed it as a "big humiliation".
The Tamil Nadu chief minister left in a huff saying she was insulted since it is impossible to express everything in ten minutes in the interest of her state and the country at large.
"I had barely began my speech when I was told that my ten minutes are up as a bell rang. This is utter humiliation of a Chief Minister who has come all the way to Delhi," said Jayalalithaa.
"It is impossible to convey the news in ten minutes," said Jayalalithaa.
"There have been many occasions before when chief ministers who support the central government have been allowed to speak," said Jayalalithaa.
She said even Assam Chief Minister was earlier allowed to speak for 35 minutes.
Jayalalithaa's own speech that she was not fully allowed to deliver was full of criticism of the central government for its "undemocratic" approach to the state.