War of words between the then ruling Congress and opposition BJP often marred proceedings of 15th Lok Sabha during 2009-14 but poetic encounters involving the then prime minister Manmohan Singh and Sushma Swaraj enlivened the House and remain memorable for their humour and wit.
As the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha during 2009-14, Swaraj was involved in some memorable verbal duels with Singh, as both leaders drew upon verses and wit to take on each other.
During a discussion in the 15th Lok Sabha, Singh looking at Swaraj, recited Mirza Ghalib's famous couplet "Hum ko un se vafa ki hai ummid, jo nahin jante vafa kya hai (We are expecting loyalty from those who do not know the meaning of the word)".
Swaraj responded saying if a couplet is not countered with another one then the debt remains. And then she cited Bashir Badr's verse "Kuch toh majboorian rahee hongi, yun hee koi bewafa nahee hota (there must have been some compulsions, nobody becomes disloyal for no reason)."
She added another couplet addressed to the prime minister: "Tumhe wafa yaad nahi, humein jafa yaad nahi; Zindagi aur maut ke toh do hi tarane hein, ek tumhe yaad nahi, ek hamein yaad nahi (you don't remember my loyalty, I don't remember your disloyalty, life has only two songs - one you don't remember, one I don't remember.)"
Both leaders were involved in more poetic encounters in the Lok Sabha, enlivening debates in the house for more than once.
In another such encounter in 2011, Singh cited Allama Iqbal's couplet, "Maana ki teri diid ke qabil nahin huun main tu mera shauq dekh mera intizar dekh (granted that I am not worthy of your sight you should look at my zeal, and look at my perseverance)."
This was responded in a witty manner by Swaraj, who said, "Na idhar udhar ki tu baat kar, ye bataa ki kaafila kyun luta. Hamein rahjano se gila nahin, teri rahbari ka sawaal hai. (Don't talk about this thing and that, tell us why the caravan was looted. We have no complaint with the passersby, it is a question of your leadership."
However, when RJD's Lalu Prasad cited a doggerel to mock her, she paid him in the same coin with her own two lines, saying he can't do anything else except for being a jester.
Her speech on the last day of 15th Lok Sabha made it clearly visible that she had many admirers across the aisle, where she was effusive in acknowledging the contribution of all leaders of then Lok Sabha including Singh, Sonia Gandhi and its speaker Meera Kumar and BJP's veteran leader LK Advani.
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