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Chief Secretary justifies behaviour, Baalu terms rebuttal CM’s political voice
In the line of fire for allegedly “insulting” a delegation of DMK MPs who had called on him to hand over more than one lakh public petitions related to COVID-19, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam on Thursday denied the allegations stating that the opposition leaders misinterpreted and misled the media about what had happened in his chambers on Wednesday.
In a statement, Shanmugam said he has a lot of respect for the opposition, DMK, and its party leader M K Stalin, but added that its MPs misinterpreted him. According to him, he was watching the live coverage of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s COVID relief announcements and taking notes along with the Finance Secretary.
“When the DMK MPs came in with photographers and bundles of petitions, I was shocked to see some 20 people entering my chamber when the COVID curfew was in place. However, I offered them seats and heard them out. When the MPs briefed me about the one lakh petitions, I told them it would take some time for me to segregate and send them to the respective departments for action. But this was misquoted,” the CS said, accusing the DMK delegation of misleading the media.
Responding to this, DMK’s parliamentary party leader TR Baalu condemned Shanmugam for justifying Wednesday’s face-off, charging him of speaking in the “political voice” of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Responding to Shanmugam’s ‘rebuttal’, Baalu issued a statement within hours. “In using the term ‘rebuttal’, it is evident that the senior IAS official does not attempt to end the impasse but drag it with arguments and counter arguments. He has attempted to project as if former union ministers and elected representatives have not understood anything about the pandemic,” he said.
“His attempt to present a fictitious picture that we had committed excess in Chief Secretary’s chamber does not sound like his own voice. It sounds like the political voice of the Chief Minister who issues diktats to him,” Baalu alleged, adding that they had kept calm despite realising that Shanmugam was acting indifferently at the behest of his political masters.
Claiming that the CS had time to lend ears to the views expressed by elected representatives during the pandemic and hence allotted time, the DMK leader said they had high regards for Shanmugam who had held various key positions in the previous DMK regime. But his “insulting” behaviour towards elected representatives was “surprising, unacceptable and cannot be justified in any way”.