Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday issued a clarification, saying she was unaware that Opposition leader MK Stalin was attending her swearing-in ceremony held on Monday. The statement comes a day after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Karunanidhi criticised her for seating the Opposition leader in the 16th row at the event.
“Had the [Public Department] officers brought to my notice that Thiru MK 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,” she said in a statement, adding that there was “no intent to show disrespect to him or his party”.
The DMK chief had said Jayalalithaa had “deliberately humiliated” Stalin by placing others like actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar in front for the event, during which she took oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the sixth time. Karunanidhi had pointed out that Kumar had not even won a seat in the election, while Stalin was the treasurer of the main Opposition party. The DMK won 89 of 232 Assembly seats in the recently-concluded election.