Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa clarified on Tuesday that DMK treasurer M K Stalin’s seating at the swearing-in ceremony was not ‘intentional and as per protocol’, after the allotment of seats kicked up a controversy on Monday.
Attired in white shirt and dhoti, Stalin was spotted in the 16th row at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium, venue of the swearing-in function on Monday.
DMK patriarch Karunanidhi had reacted to the seating arrangement by saying that Jayalalithaa ‘will never change’. “Even though we got 89 seats and became the primary opposition, Stalin was made to sit among the crowd, while All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi leader R Sarathkumar, who lost in this election, was offered a front row seat,” he said in a tweet after Jayalalithaa took oath as the CM for the sixth time.
On the second day after assuming office, the Tamil Nadu chief minister issued a statement regarding the issue.
“I understand that M K Stalin was seated in the block of seats intended for Members of the Legislative Assembly.
I am informed that the Public Department had followed the Protocol Manual in allocating seats in the hall for the event.
If this seating plan caused him any discomfiture, I would like to assure him that there was no intent to show disrespect to him or his Party. Had the officers brought to my notice that Thiru M K Stalin would be attending the event, I would have instructed the officers in charge of the arrangements to provide him a seat in the first row, relaxing the norms in the Protocol Manual.
I convey my good wishes to him and look forward to working with his Party for the betterment of the State.”