Jayaalithaa resents 10-minute limit, skips CMs' meet

Chennai, June 4 (IANS) Not wanting to be railroaded in completing her speech in 10 minutes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has decided to skip the Conference of Chief Ministers slated June 5 in Delhi.

The chief minister has, however, deputed a state minister and some senior officials to represent her at the conference on internal security.

"Rather than attending a conference where chief ministers are being railroaded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table, I am deputing Thiru K.P. Munusamy, minister for municipal administration, rural development, law, courts and prisons, the home secretary and the director general of police to attend the conference on my behalf," Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday.

In the letter, the text of the which was released to the media here Tuesday, Jayalalithaa said she had given the most earnest consideration to all the agenda items and her speech would give the detailed views of Tamil Nadu on all the listed subjects.

According to her, Mumusamy will deliver her speech at the conference which may be taken on record. The prime minister will preside over the conference.

"It is my experience that this conference held by the centre has become an annual ritualistic exercise where very little opportunity is given to the chief ministers to express their views on all items in the agenda," she said.

"This conference, too, carries a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects. Uttering just their titles would in itself take 10 minutes which, unfortunately, is the time being cavalierly allotted to the chief ministers to present their views," Jayalalithaa added.

Jayalalithaa said: "As Chief Ministers of democratically elected State Governments, we are equal partners with the Union Government in governance and expect to be able to make meaningful contributions to the discussions, so that the Centre is made aware of the true situation on the ground. Only this will enable us to formulate policies and allocate resources based on real need."

Miffed at being given just 10 minutes to deliver her speech, Jayalalithaa had walked out of the National Development Council (NDC) meet last December.

"I began my speech and as soon as 10 minutes were up, they rang a bell. It was a big humiliation," Jayalalithaa then said.

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