The Vidhana Soudha, which has seen high drama over the last few days over corruption charges and scandals, saw it on a smaller scale during the launch of a book on the former Chief Minister J.H. Patel in the conference hall of the same venue.
What triggered pandemonium at an apparently peaceful function was the mention of the word “scandal” by playwright, satirist and the former Kannada Sahitya Parishat Chairman, Chandrashekhar Patil, in his speech. After the release of the book by journalist K.N. Reddy, Mr. Patil began to speak about how the nature of politics had changed over the last ten years. He mentioned the word “scandal”, and one person in the auditorium sprang up to say that speeches should be “restricted to the contribution of Patel” and should not digress to “extraneous” subjects.
The audience then got divided into two parties, one defending Mr. Patil's right to free speech and the other arguing that any talk of scandals was out of bounds at the function. The writer finally cut short his talk. Ironically, earlier in his speech, Prof. Patil had said that he had not seen the Vidhana Soudha so peaceful in a long time.
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, who released the books, described the late Mr. Patel as a true follower of socialist leader Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia. He recalled that Mr. Patel was the first man to speak in the Parliament in Kannada, starting a tradition of translations from all languages in Parliamentary debates.