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 no Congress leader was countering it. This was bothering me. Then somebody told me about 'Maiden Speech'. In Parliament, there is a convention that First time members are allowed to make their first speech without any time restriction. "I will make my maiden speech'', I told Speaker K S Hegde, who was also from my district. I spoke for about 45 minutes defending Indira Gandhi. Prime Minister Morarji Desai was on his way out of the house, as I started my speech. Hearing my passionate speech, he returned to his seat. There was pin-drop silence in the Lok Sabha and everyone keenly listened to my speech. When I finished, members thumped their benches in appreciation. The Opposition leader Stephen walked upto me and warmly embraced me. "You are a good orator and a great man'', he said.

Indira Gandhi was also impressed by my maiden speech. When I met her after sometime, she lauded me. ''Your speech was excellent. That is how one should speak in Parliament. One should always come prepared,'' she said.

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