Speeches in Parliament Vol. (IV)-3

Following the defeat of the Indian National Congress in the general elections held at the beginning of 1977, Chavan as the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha was the first one to be designated formally as the Leader of Opposition. In his very first speech he conceded that the result of general elections was a vote against the Emergency. His party had accepted a lesson that delegation of power without adequate checks and controls, either to the policial executive or to the bureaucracy, is apt to be    abused. He declared : I would like to tell my countrymen and partymen that Emergency was not part of tradition or ideology of the Congress. Congress stood for democracy, individual liberty and individual freedom. At the same time, Congress stood for social justice, economic equality and socialism. We have said good bye to it. Good-bye for ever.

As the Leader of the Opposition, Chavan showed remarkable skills in handling debates on development, law and order as well as the external affairs. On development issues, he clearly put forth that there were three fundamental problems: of poverty, of inequality, both social and economic, and the problem of modernising manpower and agriculture with the help of science and technology. On law & order and external affairs he drew upon his rich experience. As a member of the Lok Sabha he actively participated in the problems relating to northeast, especially the agitation in Assam. His speeches show a depth of understanding and emotional involvement, in the problems of the northeast.

Y. B. Chavan moved in the Lok Sabha a motion of ‘No Confidence in the Council of Ministers’, on July 11, 1979. The speech delivered by Chavan was perhaps the most important one that he made in his political career. His last speech was in the background of the Blue Star Operations in the Punjab. He supported strong action by the Central Government to deal with the situation and warned against holy places of worship being allowed to be used by the militants. He warned that “If allowed in Punjab, the same thing could happen in other States”.

The Obituary References made in the two Houses are reproduced in Part III. About his participation, the Rajya Sabha noted : “The debates of Lok Sabha bear witness to the valuable contributions made by Shri Chavan during his tenure as a Minister and as a Member of the Opposition in upholding democratic values of the Parliamentary system of Government. All Sections of the House respected and heard him in silence.”

I take this opportunity to thank the Pratishthan, in particular, Shri Sharad Pawar, President for having entrusted this task to me. I have received over years excellent cooperation from the office bearers of the Pratishthan. I am specially appreciative of the assistance given to me by Vidyadhar K. Kandalgaonkar, who worked long hours in giving shape to these publications. This task has been a labour of love for me and represents my tribute to one who gave me his trust and affection.

January 1, 1999