New Delhi: The walkout by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa from the National Development Council meeting here for not being granted enough time to complete her speech evoked mixed reaction from various political leaders.
While BJP chief ministers Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday came out in support of Jayalalithaa, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan lauded the present system of limiting the speech of chief ministers to 10 minutes, saying all states were equal.
Asked to comment on the incident, Modi said it was the government which had requested for limiting the time to 10 minutes.
When further asked if 10 minutes were enough to put forth a state`s viewpoint, Modi laughed, saying "The less they hear, the better it is for them (the Centre)."
Coming out in support of Jayalalitha, Chouhan said she should have been given more time.
"This kind of meeting takes place only once a year. Therefore, they should be liberal (in giving more time)," he said.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, however, did not draw himself into the controversy and merely said, "Every chief minister was given 10 minutes each."
The Maharashtra chief minister said there is a logistic issue as all states are equal and said the present system was "good" and prevalent all over the world.
"We can`t say that one person is larger or more important should be given more time. A new system was introduced, which prevails all over the world. Because exactly same time was given to each person and the timing was automatic.
"I think it is a very good system. We need to learn to summarise our views. Whatever time they have given, it is difficult. It can be done. But if you want to keep on leaving the main subject and going on tangent then of course, you will not get enough time," Chavan said.
Coming out in support of Jayalalithaa, CPI leader D Raja said her walkout from the NDC meeting was justified.
"The Centre is not an imperial power. It can`t treat the Chief Ministers in such a manner by limiting their speeches to ten minutes. She is justified in her protest," he said.
He said in a federal structure, "such things cannot be dictated. They (Centre) should be more sensitive to the Chief Ministers as they are elected representatives of the states they represent."
The proceedings could be extended if needed, especially when the NDC meeting was discussing the crucial 12th five year plan in which the states` inputs are essential, the CPI leader said.
Jayalalithaa had walked out of the Council meeting here accusing the Centre of "stifling" the voice of Chief Ministers by restricting their speeches to ten minutes and saying it was a "big humiliation" for her to be stopped from completing her speech at the NDC meeting.