The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya debut with JP jolt

New Delhi, Dec. 2: Jaya Bachchan the MP has chosen for her opening lines an infamous era of the Nehru-Gandhi family ' the Emergency.

The Rajya Sabha member, who ripped the veil off the rift between India's two most famous families in October when she debuted as an election campaigner, raised in the House a controversy about a film on Jayaprakash Narayan.

Slipping into another maiden role today ' as a Parliament speaker ' Jaya lashed out at the Congress-led coalition for trying to censor JP's role during the Emergency in a Prakash Jha film.

'It is a reality that lot of political leaders were imprisoned during the Emergency and it will be sad for democracy and artistes if attempts are made to kill the truth,' she said, drawing applause from BJP members, which had once targeted her husband Amitabh Bachchan.

Jaya was alluding to an attempt ' now abandoned ' to bar the film from being aired on Doordarshan reportedly because of the government's reservations about certain comments on the Emergency.

Doordarshan will telecast the film on Saturday after incorporating what the government has described as changes that include 'editing of two audio bites'.

Jaya said if Doordarshan goes ahead with the cuts reported earlier, 'it will amount to an attack on individual's right to freedom of creativity'.

She could have been speaking her mind as a celebrated actor in her own right and as the head of an Uttar Pradesh council that promotes films. Besides, JP is an icon for Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party sent Jaya to the Rajya Sabha.

But the topic of her first speech was such that it has again swivelled the spotlight to the feud. In October, Jaya had suggested at Samajwadi rallies that the Nehru-Gandhi family did not stand by her husband during crises. This drew an acerbic response from Rahul Gandhi, and Amitabh was eventually forced to issue a public appeal to end the spat.

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