Call for National Duty

Year 1977 I was practising as a lawyer in my office in Bhavanti street in Mangaluru. I was engrossed in a case file when the phone rang. The caller identified himself as Personal Secretary of Mrs.Indira Gandhi and informed that Madam wanted to speak to me. I asked for name of 'Madam'. He replied, "Indira… Read More  

Political Journey

1977 It was my first election and I had humbled A K Subbaiah of Janata Party by a huge margin of 66,000 votes. But, as I had narrated, Congress had suffered a crippling defeat in rest of the country. Even Indira Gandhi lost. Immediately after results were announced, I declared, "I have won the election… Read More  

Maiden Speech

In 1977 elections, the Congress had got just 154 seats out of 524 seats in the Lok Sabha. The Janata Party led by Morarji Desai had formed the Government. Indira Gandhi was under severe criticism for imposing Emergency and the criticism continued inside the Parliament too. Harsh words were being used against Indira Gandhi and… Read More  

Pheonix Rises

Chikkamagaluru bye election was one of the keenly fought elections in Indian history. In Congress, there was a demand to bring Indira Gandhi back to Parliament and Devaraj Urs persuaded her to contest from Karnataka. After a lot of discussion, Chikkamagaluru Loksabha constituency was chosen for her contest and then Congress MP Mr D B… Read More  

Donations for the campaign

One day Indira Gandhi summoned me to Dharmasthala guest house. "Devaraj Urs is not giving money for campaigning", she complained.Devaraj Urs was also in the same Guest house. I went straight to his room and countered him "Are you not giving money to Indira Gandhi for her election expenses?" "How can you say that? My… Read More  

Clash of Titans

After Indiraji's victory, several important political developments took place. Janata Party government started creating trouble for Indira Gandhi. She was sent to jail for a week after cancelling her Lok Sabha membership through a Privilege Motion. Further, the Government appointed Shah Commission to look into the excesses committed during Emergency and the Grover Commission against… Read More  

Who is Bangarappa?

"Who is Bangarappa? I have not seen him," said Indira Gandhi when I proposed S Bangarappa's name for KPCC President's post to replace Mr Devaraj Urs. It was before the 1980 elections. Bangarappa was in Socialist Party. Urs brought him to Congress and made him Minister in his Cabinet. After Devraj Urs revolted against Indira… Read More  

Oscar Fernades

I had played a key role in the 1980 elections and Indira Gandhi trusted me completely. Oscar Fernandes was Udupi Block Congress President then. Once I had been to the party office to attend a meeting. Since the hall was full and quite a few seniors were standing, I asked if somebody could arrange bench…. Read More  

Pranab Mukherjee

Even though I had joined congress just three years ago, Indira Gandhi had immense faith and confidence in me. Pranab Mukherjee lost in the 1980 elections. He was the Finance Minister in the previous government headed by Indira Gandhi. One day, he invited me to his house. Both Pranab and his wife, were sitting in… Read More  

This boy cannot Betray me

After assuming power, Indira Gandhi used to seek my opinion whenever any important issue came up. One day as we were discussing on some issues, Sanjay Gandhi walked past us. 'Where are you going?' she asked 'Some people from Amethi have come. I am going to meet them' Sanjay replied. Indira Gandhi kept looking at… Read More  

Concern shown by Indira Gandhi

As mentioned before, Indiraji had confidence in me. I am grateful to the love and concern she showered on me. I recall an incident in 1977-78. Indira Gandhi was not in power then. Congress had organised a huge rally at Ram Leela Maidan. After the rally, me and Sadashiv Kamat were returning in an auto…. Read More  

Minister for Finance

15th January, 1982.Indira Gandhi made me Deputy Minister for Finance. Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister. Many people took a dig at Indiraji's decision to make me Finance Minister. "Poojary has been made minister for a major portfolio held by eminent people like Subramanyam and Mathai. He won't survive. He will be thrown out of… Read More  

Country Jolted Indira killed

31st October 1984 a black day in Indian history. She was killed in the courtyard of her residence. She was shot dead while listening to the grievances of the people. Elder daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi came out running and she was shocked to see Indira Gandhi lying in a pool of blood. She rushed her mother-in-law… Read More  

Indira's Beloved daughter-in-law

Sonia Gandhi is a very responsible and caring lady. She developed a very deep bonding with the family members. Indira was very fond of Sonia. But Indira Gandhi's second daughter-in-law Maneka could never get along with her mother-in-law.Indira Gandhi used to share her problems including family matters with me.I never prodded her on family matters…. Read More  

Rajiv era

Indira's untimely death led to Rajiv Gandhi era in Indian politics. He promoted me as Minister of State for Finance on the very first day he took over as Prime Minister. He was a very mild mannered man who had the ability to spot talent. He knew that I was a committed Congress worker. Before… Read More  

Jayalalitha's spicy food

I was with Rajiv Gandhi during the 1991 Lok Sabha election campaign. He was AICC President then. On April 17-18, the two of us, went in a small plane to Chennai to hold talks with AIADMK for an alliance. I was the AICC General Secretary and in-charge of Tamil Nadu then. Talks were held in… Read More  

End of Rajiv era

Rajiv was on a whirlwind tour of the country during the 1991 election. He visited some important States many times. Similarly, he went to Chennai again on May 21 for the second round of campaign. While he was participating in an election rally in Sri-Perambudur, he was killed by a suicide bomber. The Gandhi family… Read More  

Lesson of gratitude to those who have forgotten

Rajiv's body was kept at his Delhi residence. Congress Working Committee met to elect the President of the party. I was in charge of the Committee and Arjun Singh, Sitaram Kesari, P V Narasimha Rao, H K L Bhagat were present. Bhagat proposed P V Narasimha Rao's name for Party President. Suddenly I said 'Stop… Read More  

My first defeat to Saffronisation

June 1991. Congress party returned to power with a bang within a month of Rajiv Gandhi's death. But I lost in Mangaluru. My first electoral defeat. Ram Mandir issue had taken the centre-stage then. It was the time when saffron brigade was collecting bricks and token money from people as contribution to build Ram Temple… Read More  

P V Narasimha Rao Era

P V Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister. He was a great scholar. It is possible that Rao may have thought 'Poojary is a trustworthy man. He may have opposed my candidature because of his close association with Gandhi family. But, he will not betray me and can be trusted upon". Thus, despite my opposition in… Read More  

Manmohan Singh

Dr Manmohan Singh was Finance Minister in the PV Narasimha Rao Cabinet. He unveiled several measures on globalisation. I was not fully convinced about those. Once, I was with Rao when Manmohan Singh came to meet Rao. "If you listen to this man's idea, Congress will not come to power again," I told Rao on… Read More  

Sharad Pawar's Revenge

I was in-charge of six States including Maharashtra. Once, there was a political problem in Maharashtra just before Sharad Pawar became Chief Minister. There was a tussle within the state unit for the Chief Minister's post. Sudhakar Naik's name was also in the race. First Sudhakar Naik became CM and then Pawar became the CM.A… Read More  

Shastri's son, Encouraged Mamata Banerjee

During my school days, I had read about Lal Bahadur Shastri's life story and was inspired by his life. I had seen his life after he became Prime Minister. Born in a poor family, Shastri struggled a lot. He struggled to earn two meals a day. He used to walk for kilometers and cross a… Read More  

Sitaram Kesari

I came across a committed and hardworking congress worker named Mamatha Banerjee. I mentored her for politics after seeing her dedication to public cause. Being a woman, making a career in public life is not easy, that too from West Bengal. I had seen her struggle. I supported her as much as I could. I… Read More  

Sonia continued to support me

After this, Sonia Gandhi gave me a political rebirth. She made me Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President for the second time. Earlier, Rajiv Gandhi had made me KPCC President. That time I was also Minister at the Centre and Rajiv asked me to continue in both the posts.


Congress emerged as single largest party in 1996 Lok Sabha elections but did not have numbers to form the Government. Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao was also the Congress Party President and I was AICC General Secretary. United Front leaders wanted to form the Government with the support of Congress in order to keep… Read More  

Grooming Younger Leaders

Indira, Rajiv and later Narasimha Rao too observed my work and recognised my unwavering loyalty to the Congress party. So Rao used to seek my suggestions on lot of matters. While selecting candidates for Karnataka assembly elections, he used to proceed only after consulting me. I was very happy and thankful to the party High… Read More  

Dont' do any harm

Congress party and Indira Gandhi family recognised me and gave me important positions in politics. They believed me and reposed complete trust in me. I was not their relative. My hardwork and efforts too played significant role in my success. When I invited Rajiv Gandhi to inaugurate Loan Mela programme at Ram Leela Maidan in… Read More  

Bharat Cooperative Bank

When I was in-charge of Maharashtra Congress unit, Billavas from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada district who had settled in Mumbai, sought my help to get a site from the Government for the activities of their Association. Sudhakar Naik was the Chief Minister and Javed Khan was Housing Minister then. I told them about the demand…. Read More  

Billava Bhavan in Bengaluru

Billavas who had settled in Bengaluru sought my help to get land from the State Government to build a Community Hall. I was a Rajya Sabha member then. S M Krishna was the Chief Minister and H C Srikanthaiah was the Revenue Minister. They considered my memorandum and alloted 2 acres of land on Banneraghatta… Read More  

My Secretaries

After I took oath as Finance Minister, four people got appointed as my Secretaries. When I was Lok Sabha member, I used to go to the Parliament library and one official by name Kukreja used to help in locating the books. D K Sharma who also worked in the library, used to help in finding… Read More  

Hegde became CM, I got saved!

In the 1984 Lok Sabha election held after Indira Gandhi's murder, the Congress got a thumping majority by winning 411 seats. Sympathy factor had worked for the Party in a big way. No Party had won so many seats till then. I had won from Mangaluru- Kodagu. Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister. I was… Read More  

Once again opportunity knocked the door

In 1989 Assembly elections, Congress emerged victorious and Veerendra Patil became Chief Minister. What happened before that?Prior to the election, I had worked as KPCC President and as Union Minister I had visited all the 224 Assembly segments. I was very popular and there was a talk that I will become the next CM. Some… Read More  

Toddy tappers demands

Toddy tappers from Mangaluru began a strike seeking fulfilment of their demands. There were technical issues in issuing license to them to tap toddy. They wanted license to be given free of cost. They requested me to talk to Chief Minister Veerendra Patil. I spoke to him and he readily agreed to fulfill the demands…. Read More  

Resignation of Bangarappa

Bangarappa did a good job as Chief Minister. Ashraya, a Housing Scheme for the poor and Vishwa, a Scheme to help Rural Artisans, became very popular. He was very close to me and he used to seek my advice on certain issues. I used to guide him and warn him whenever he was doing something… Read More  

Flight is ready, become CM!

After Bangarappa resigned, there was a competition between S M Krishna and M Veerappa Moily. Before that, Rao summoned me to Delhi and said "Be prepared. I have kept the flight ready. Tomorrow you are taking Oath as CM. Don't talk much, I am directing you. It is in Party's interest. Honest people like you… Read More  

You will Repent

Politics is a whirlwind of secrets and the fact that it is great thing that I have survived till now. Delhi politics is more complex than that of Karnataka politics.It was me who made Veerappa Moily the Opposition leader. That was in 1983. People of the State had supported Indira Gandhi even during the Emergency…. Read More  

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