In a statement that comes as a surprise in the existing political culture in Tamil Nadu but indicative of a positive relationship between the ruling AIADMK and the DMK in the coming days, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday thanked DMK leader M.K. Stalin for attending the swearing-in ceremony.
Clearing the air on the issue of Mr. Stalin being allotted a seat in a back row, Ms. Jayalalithaa said she was 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 Mr. 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,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a statement.
Her statement comes a day after DMK president M. Karunanidhi raised this issue and tweeted saying his son and newly elected MLA Stalin, who has the qualification to sit in the Principal Opposition, was given seat among the crowd while defeated AIADMK candidate Sarath Kumar was seated in the front row. Mr. Stalin on Monday tweeted, “Attended the swearing in of TN CM today. Hope that she fulfils her election promises and works hard for the people of TN. Wish her the best.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa said, “I convey my good wishes to him and look forward to working with his party for the betterment of the State.” The statement comes a day before the 15th State Legislative Assembly is scheduled to sit for the first day on Wednesday. The recent exchange of wishes between the AIADMK chief and the DMK leader come as a pleasant surprise to those who were hitherto used to the hard stands that leaders of the the Dravidiam majors had taken against each other.