Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday walked out of the National Development Council (NDC) meeting in New Delhi accusing the Centre of "stifling" the voice of chief ministers by restricting their speeches to 10 minutes.
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 alloted 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 alloted 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.