The organisers had to break the convention of alphabetical order to allow Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa to speak first in the National Development Council (NDC) meet. The southern satrap was also allotted a special front-row seat, said sources.
The government had made all its efforts to fulfill the chief minister's wishes, but a buzzer put her off during the meet.
Miffed at the buzzer that forced her to end the speech midway, Jayalalithaa had walked out of the National Development Council - the highest decision making meeting of the country - on Thursday.
The beacon and buzzer system, which is used to alert speakers about the time limit, is not new. But officials claim that turning the system into automatic mode, thus making it inconsiderate of the prominent speakers, led to the incident.
"She began the speech on a fiery note and slammed the Centre for its biased approach. She appeared to have come to confront the Centre. In any case, Tamil Nadu officials knew that a chief minister is allowed only 10 minutes. Her walkout is nothing but politically-motivated," a senior planning commission official told HT.
After staging the walkout, Jayalalithaa had accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of "humiliating" her. But during the meet, the CM appeared calm, officials said. "She ended the speech, saying it should be considered as read."
The buzzer and Jayalalithaa's walkout nevertheless contributed a good record. Startled CMs confined to the 10-minute time limit at the meet, allowing the proceedings end on time. Officials said it's a first in the history of the NDC.
Officials said the Tamil Nadu chief minister's participation was not confirmed till Monday evening - two days before the event.