No disrespect meant to either.

Jayas assurance to Stalin and seating gaffe not new happened with Anbazhagan in 2002PTI file photo of MK Stalin and K Anbazhagan seated together in 2002
news TN 2016 Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 18:50

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's expression of civility by issuing a statement on Opposition leader MK Stalin's seating arrangement at her swearing-in ceremony has come as a pleasant surprise to many. But rewind to 2002, and senior leader K Anbazhagan was the subject of Jayalalithaa's seating gaffe.

The recent statement came after DMK president M Karunanidhi on Monday alleged that his party was 'insulted' at the swearing-in ceremony of J Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, complaining about the seating arrangement made for his son M K Stalin.

This however, is not the first time. According to The Hindu, in 2002, when Jayalalithaa came to power, she had ordered an amendment of the warrant of precedence to accommodate the leader of the Opposition, K. Anbazhagan, in the front row at government functions.

Noting that the then leader of the Opposition came 18th in the warrant of precedence, she said this was "wrong''. She had already written to Anbazhagan expressing regret at his having been given a seat only in the sixth row at the Cabinet swearing-in ceremony, said.

Similar to her clarification on Stalin’s seating, she clarified that she had no knowledge of the seating order for VIPs at the ceremony back in 2002.

“She assumed that all proper arrangements had been made. Only after the ceremony started did she notice Anbazhagan in the sixth row. At that moment, she could not do anything," said the AIADMK statement then.

The statements then for Anbazhagan and now for Stalin almost mirror each other – “She held him in high regard, and never thought of showing him any disrespect. She now instructed officials to ensure that such shortcomings did not recur," the 2002 statement had said.