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Maharaj embarrasses JD leadership royally

A king's ovation they gave him -- so what if it was a bit embarrassing for the rest around?

On Thursday, at the Janata Dal's much-hyped sankalp rally in New Delhi, the king was not Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, not Ram Vilas Paswan -- but Satpal Maharaj.

Who, true to his name, behaved like a maharaj.

The crowd received Maharaj carrying his portrait and shouting slogans. And, embarrassingly (for the rest of the VIPs, that is), started melting away the moment he finished his speech!

The party leadership hurriedly summoned him back to the stage, as Gujral was to follow him to the mike. Luckily, the crowd too returned, shouting slogans in favour of Uttarakand.

The first few minutes of Gujral's speech went completely unattended -- for besides the audience's open-eyed admiration for the royally-seated Maharaj, the mike was unadjusted.

Seeing his master's predicament, Civil Aviation Minister Chand Mahal Ibrahim flew to his rescue and adjusted the mike. A satisfied Gujral went on.

The next on stage was Ram Vilas Paswan. He was cheered repeatedly by dalit supporters who, like Maharaj's people, once Paswan finished his speech, started melting away.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, who next took the mike, came prepared -- he had his speech on a piece of paper, written neatly in Hindi, with which, in his characteristic stumbling way, he proceeded to enlighten the audience.

Surprisingly, the audience liked it -- and went on to show its appreciation with loud cheers (or were those jeers?)...


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