Speeches in the State Legislatures : 1946-62-6

In March 1946 Chavan’s career as a legislator began. The first Chief Minister of Bombay province, the late Shri B. G. Kher, chose Shri Chavan as Parliamentary Secretary in his cabinet. The latter was a little disappointed at first; but compromise was Shri Chavan’s forte, and when Morarji Desai who was Minister for Home and Revenue chose him as his Parliamentary Secretary, giving instructions that, no papers should be submitted to him without being examined by Shri Chavan, the young politician from Karad was happy to note that his talent was recognised. Gradually, his standing grew high.

Shri Morarji Desai during his tenure as Minister-in-charge of Revenue, brought a Bill called “Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Bill”. It was a progressive piece of legislation intended to prevent further division of land holdings in Maharashtra which plagued it for years and prevented better yield from the land. Shri Morarji Desai entrusted his lieutenant, Shri Chavan, with the task of persuading the Opposition to accept the official line as the scientific approach in the circumstances which would benefit the farmers. Shri Chavan ably quoted figures about similar agricultural reforms in Europe and silenced the critics of Government.

On 16 March 1950 in reply to baseless allegations made by Shri Tulsidas Jadhav that Shri Chavan had addressed a meeting that ended in a riot, Shri Chavan refuted this charge by explaining what had happened in the meeting and in the end warned that such baseless allegations could only lead to the throttling of democracy, and that it was only a propaganda gimmick the Opposition was indulging in.

Speaking on the demand for sanctioning grants on the Police Department, Shri Chavan, stressed the need to update the police machinery with sophisticated equipment. He emphasized the urgency of arming the police department with the latest gadgetry for the detection of crime.

In 1952 elections, Congress was returned to power again with Morarji Desai at the helm of affairs. Shri Chavan was appointed Minister for Civil Supplies, in which capacity he worked very hard to minimise the hardships of the people. Later he also worked as Minister for Forests, Local Self-Government and Accommodation.

On the occasion of the debate on the Governor’s Address in May, replying to the Opposition charge that compared to the soaring prices the subsidy given by the Centre was inadequate, Shri Chavan, as Minister for Civil Supplies pointed out that he also shared the anxiety of Opposition members as regards the sky- rocketing food prices and its effects on the cost of living; but, he added that the problem of subsidy was linked with the world prices.

In July, Shri Chavan, took the House into confidence to explain the economic condition of the country on the whole and the basic features of the control policy of the State Government and analysed the measures adopted by Government to ameliorate the conditions of the masses. Shri Chavan, also assured the House that a fresh approach regarding the policy of controls would be made after the rainy season when the crop situation would become clear. He effectively delineated the policy of the Civil Supplies Department.