It was the year 1998.
BJP was the single largest party and NDA was the largest alliance in the Loksabha with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as it’s elected PM. A no-confidence motion was put before the house and the Congress Party and CPM had joined hands to vote against NDA government.
The elected members from both the Congress and Left parties were sitting together and attacking the Vajpayee led NDA. Whenever a Congress leader spoke, the CPM leaders were thumping the desks and vice-versa.
Whenever a leader from NDA was speaking, attacking Congress, leaders from CPM were counterattacking fiercely. All ‘secular’ forces were united to dethrone the Vajpayee government.
Then the very fierce George Fernandez, who was also the convenor of the NDA stood up to defend the government and said:
“Speaker sir, I want to inform you what a strong organization has to say something on Congress party.”
He then took out a book and started reading.
“Congress party is the fountainhead of corruption… (loud shouting started from the Congress benches, but he continued) … The British left and the Congress party replaced them. Over the past 50 years, Congress has established ever new records in corruption.
The shout from the opposition benches continued even more loudly. But George Saab continued, undeterred.
“Congress ministers have often been found embroiled in several scams, including Mundra scam, Churhat Lottery scam, Bofors scam, Sukhram scam, Harshad Mehta scam, JMM Bribery scam, and Hawala, that took place during their regime. Congress has corrupted and misused every institution of the Indian democracy.”
At this point, both the Congress and CPM got charged up and said: “Speaker sir! Please ask the honorable member to name the source. We can’t allow him to read from any unnamed document. Please restrain him.”
To which George Fernandes replied: “Please don’t get impatient. I’ll definitely name the source. But first, let me complete what it says. It says: The Congress party’s record on ‘Secularism’ too has been chequered. At various times in the history, Congressi goondas took an active part in riots and killed people. 3000 Sikhs were butchered by them on streets of Delhi and prime minister Rajiv Gandhi watched it silently.“
Now the opposition bench went berserk. Loud sloganeering and noise started from the benches of Congress and CPM.
George Fernandes: “Just give me two minutes… and then I will reveal the source. Please.”
He again continued to read from the book: “Speaker sir, it says: No country in history has ever progressed with bad governance and excessive corruption as partners. None! The Congress suffers from this twin ailment since decades. Its survival is detrimental to the progress of India. Therefore, in the interest of this nation, it’s important that the Congress party is wiped out from this land forever.“
Now, it was impossible to control the Congress and the CPM leaders. They created a ruckus in the parliament and demanded:
“Speaker sir! It cannot go on like this. We will not allow him to speak any further if he doesn’t give the source he is quoting from.“
“Ok, Ok,” said George, “There is more to read. But since our friends from Congress and CPM are so desperate to know the source, let me tell you what I am reading from… …I’m reading from the Manifesto of CPI(M) issued just before these Lok Sabha elections.”
Pin drop silence in the house!!
Both the leaders from the Congress and CPM were staring at each other.
George Saab: “What happened? Why silent? You were shouting that you wanted to know the source. we want to know the source. Once you heard the source, you observe radio silence! Shame on yourselves! Definitely, you should be ashamed.”
“My friends from the Left! Either you don’t read your own manifesto or you don’t mean a word of it. In either case, you should be ashamed of yourselves. In the name of secularism, you have joined hands with Congress that has broken all records in corruption. I urge you to introspect, to determine your future course of action. And if you do not mend your ways, your party will become history, sooner rather than later.”
Rest in Peace, George Sir!