Sushma Swaraj, a former foreign minister, and a veteran leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has passed away after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. She was 67.
Swaraj was brought to the emergency unit of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Tuesday evening, according to people familiar with the matter.
*English Translation of Sushma Swaraj's 11 June, 1996 speech in Parliament against no-confidence motion:*
Sushma Swaraj: Mr. Speaker, The discussion on the confidence motion which happened today which started off with the brief speech by our Prime Minister, is now being continued by me after being added on to by the strong points by Mr. Jaswant Singh and passing through various levels of discussion.
I am here to oppose this confidence motion. Every speaker here has started their speech off by describing the meaning of the People's mandate, and two opposing views to describe the mandate have been put forward in the House today. The Government says that this Mandate was in favor of the coalition government, to which I have raised the question of whether this mandate was for a Coalition with the Congress Party. This question so far has been unanswered. I hope tomorrow morning, the Prime Minister begins his reply by answering the question of whether this mandate was for the Congress coalition.
Mr. Speaker, you can accept any definition of the mandate, but you cannot ignore what is happening in this house. Before today, there used to be the Government of one party, and a scattered opposition. But today, we've got a scattered government and a united opposition. Doesn't this scene describe the open defiance of the people's mandate? But Mr. Speaker this hasn't happened for the first time in History, when the true heir was kept from the throne. People expecting Indira Gandhi reference The same happened to Lord Ram in Treta Yuga. Amidst his coronation ceremony, he was sent off to exile.
The same happened in Dwapar Yuga with Yudishthir, when the vile Shakuni's tricks kept the true heir to the throne out of it. Mr. Speaker, when one Manthra and one Shakuni can keep the likes of Lord Rama and Yudishthir out of their right to rule, then if you take a look around this House you'll find many Manthras and many Shakunis opposing us, how can we stay in power?
Mr. Speaker, I suppose it is the nature of Ramrajya and Surajya (Good governance). People start laughing/clapping
Speaker: Please, don't make your speech so interesting!
Sushma Swaraj: Mr. Speaker, I suppose it is the nature of Ramrajya and Surajya that it is attained after a big setback. Which is why I want to say it with complete confidence, that after my Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave his resignation on the 28th afternoon, India had seen a base prepared for the beginning of a future Ramrajya, a beginning of good governance was thus set in motion. The Indian voter who watched those moments live on Doordarshan, cried out in vain upon his resignation that Injustice was done.
The unjust don't agree that they've done any injustice, in fact, the unjust present their injustice in the veil of their selfishness, as if they had pulled off the biggest act of justice, and this is what happened in this house. Calling themselves secular and labeling us communal, all of these people got united, and got together. My leader said that day that Communalism vs Secularism needs to be debated on the national stage. We want to know what the forefathers had definied Secularism as in this country's constitution and what the rulers of this nation have made it to mean today. This should be debated nationally.
Mr. Speaker, we are communal. Opposition leaders start agreeing and saying YES!, Yes Mr. Speaker, we are communal, because we advocate the singing of Vande Matram, Yes, we are communal, because we fight for the respect of the national flag, we are communal, because we want to abolish the 370, we are communal, because we want to put an end to discrimination based on caste and creed in this country, yes we are communal, because we want to get the Uniform Civil Code (Saman Nagrik Samhita) implemented in this country.
Mr. Speaker, we are communal, because we want the voices of the Kashmiri refugees to be heard. Mr. Speaker, all of these people are secular, these Congressmen who murdered 3000 Sikhs on the streets of Delhi are secular.
Bhagwati Devi starts speaking: Am I not a Hindu? I was stopped from going to the temple. (Stopped by Speaker and others because it was irrelevant to the topic)
Sushma Swaraj: Mr. Speaker, for her information I want to tell her that Bharatiya Janta Party had laid the foundation of the Ram Mandir by the hands of a Harijan (Dalit). Mr. Speaker, I was saying that these Congressmen are secular, these Congressmen that have murdered 3000 Sikhs on the streets of Delhi are secular and you're a witness of Bihar, that by dividing the Yadavs and Muslims and sparking the 1989 riots, these Janata Dal people are secular.
Chandra Shekhar starts speaking: I don't know how many speakers are there in this house, but I want to request to you that if someone is speaking in the house, we should allow them to complete so that everyone can listen what they have to say. I don't know why are these people so angry, I have seen a lot of anger today. So I just wanted to say to the speaker that please allow Mr. Sushma to speak.
Sushma Swaraj: Mr. Speaker, I was mentioning their secular credentials. These people, to make their vote bank happy, getting innocent Rambhakts sprayed with bullets, these Samajwadi Party people are secular. Chasing Chakma refugees away and accepting illegal immigrants, these Communist people are secular.
The truth is, Mr. Speaker, that because we are not ashamed of being Hindu, we are communal and we are anti-secular, and in this country, if you are not ashamed of being a Hindu, then you cannot be certified a secular by these pseudo intellectuals. Mr. Speaker, our definition of secularism is that a Hindu should be a good Hindu, a Muslim should be a good Muslim, a Sikh should be a good Sikh and a Christian should be a good Christian, and everyone should follow their religions while simultaneously respecting each other.
But their secularism begins with abusing the Hindu and if you don't participate in that program of abusing the Hindu, then you cannot be secular. I want to say that regardless of whether we're in the government or not, we cannot accept this definition of secularism.
Mr. Speaker, before today, only Hindutva was questioned, we were asked the definition of the word Hindutva. But upon listening to the discussion on the confidence motion, my eyes watered when in this house, questions were also raised on the "Bharatiya" word. Before today, Indian-ness and the Indian Nationality was allowed to be spoken of. But in this very house, this was brought up.
I respect Mr. Murasoli Maran but today he said that we are different and you are different, which Indian culture are you speaking of? What is Bharat, Bharatiya and Bharatiyata? (India, Indians and Indian-ness). I thought that someone seated here would probably say something. I had expectations from Mr. Chandra shekhar, but I don't know why asks Chandra shekhar, much like Bhishma Pitamah in the house of Kauravas, you too remained silent? You didn't say anything?
Mr. Speaker, I want to say to my friend Mr. Murasoli Maran with all due respect, that he doesn't need to go anywhere to understand the meaning of Bharatiyata. Bharatiyata means that from Bhangra to Bharatnatyam, all dances are Indian and belong to India. Bharatiyata means that from Jammu's Rajma Chawal and Punjab's Makki Roti to South's Idli Dosa, all delicacies are Indian delicacies. Bharatiyata means that from Amarnath in the North to Rameshwaram in the South, all pilgrimages are Indian pilgrimages. You ask, what are the aspects of this culture?
Someone says: These people are not Indian, they've originated from America.
Sushma Swaraj: Mr. Speaker, the aspects of this culture are such, that a devotee of Lord Shiva takes water from Amarnath and washes the Lord's feet at Rameshwaram, it has happened because of this very culture, that even after being born in West Bengal, Mr. N.C. Chatterji names his son Somnath. This is our culture (x3), I don't need to look up the meaning of our culture in a dictionary. It is mirrored in this very house itself.
However, Mr. Speaker, this question is that these people haven't united under the context of communalism, this is just a veil, they have in fact united because of their own sins. They have united under agreement to issue pardons to each other. They have united due to the fear of getting their crimes unveiled, this is not a coalition of Secularism Mr. Speaker, this is a coalition of the Chara Kaand and Hawala Kaand.
Sushma Swaraj: Mr. Speaker, when I mention Chara kaand and Hawala kaand, Mr. Somnath should not be getting up to question it, it is well understood whose coalition am I referring to. Mr. Speaker, it has not happened casually, that the common minimum program doesn't mention even a single word about the pending cases of corruption. It hasn't happened in the normal course of proceedings. The people of that committee sat together, discussed all the issues at length, but Bofors was completely omitted from the program? St. Kitts is missing, JMM is missing, Sugar Scandal is missing, PSU Disinvestment scam is missing? Even their main election issue, the "Narsimha Rao Epitome of Corruption" chargesheet which they had presented with their manifesto is not even spoken about anymore?
On the Urea scam, the Prime Minister sometimes says "Law will take its own course". But just banging tables and putting up a show isn't going to solve anything, actions speak louder than words. Just recently, two officers were caught in the Urea scam, but their relatives who are also culprits still haven't been caught, a notice was given of 5 days to catch them and they still haven't been captured, why?
This is why I say that this coalition hasn't been made under the pretext of opposing communalism, but it has been made on the concept of issuing pardons for each other's crimes. Mr. Speaker, these people, Mr. Ramvilas Paswan says that this government will run, and not only will it run it will run well and it will stay for 5 years. But I want to ask, that the first statement wasn't made by my party, it was made by Biju Patnaik, who said that this government will not last, which party does he belong to? is he from BJP?
Buddhadev Bhattacharya said, that this government will not last for 6 months. Someone corrects her, it was Mr. Basudeb Acharya
Basudeb Acharya: Why is she referring my name and corrupting my words in such a statement?
Speaker: She stands corrected.
**Sushma Swaraj:**Mr. Speaker, why would I need to correct anything? I have quoted the first statement which was published, he has now presented his denial so both things are now on record.
Speaker: Please proceed further.
Sushma Swaraj: A statement came from Mr. Narsimha Rao that we should be prepared for elections with 7 months to an year. This statement wasn't issued from BJP, was it? A government that is running with so many internal conflicts, I wish to ask, what's the understanding between Narayan Dutt Tiwari and Mulayam Singh Yadav? What's the understanding between JD Patnaik and Biju Patnaik? What's the understanding, besides the Chara Ghotala, between Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav and Lalu Yadav? How is there an understanding, between Mamta Bannerjee and Somnath Chatterjee, I want to ask.
After trading away the respect of Uttarakhand women, why is Narayan Dutt Tiwari seated next to Mulayam Singh Yadav? After ignoring the benefits of Tamilnadu, why has Karunanidhi accepted Dewe Gowda has their leader? Mamta Bannerjee, how have you forgotten your wounds and voting with Somnath Chatterjee today?
Mamta Bannerjee interrupts: Why is my name being taken? I want to respond to this, give me time to speak!
Speaker: Mamta ji, you don't have to give any advance notice to speak, just let her finish first. When your name is put forward from your party, you will be allowed to speak.
**Sushma Swaraj:**Mr. Speaker, the reason I am taking names is because I remember the scene exactly how it was, my eyes remember it, when I was sitting in the Rajya Sabha gallery, in this very house, a No-Confidence motion against the Narsimha Rao government was being voted on. I was watching from the gallery and Ms. Mamta Bannerjee was brought on a wheelchair, she was sitting here itself. Shaking due to her high fever, a couple of women MPs had put a blanket over her. At that moment I was feeling disgusted by the attacking nature of Communists.
We know that Ms. Mamta Bannerjee's words of opposition are very sharp and blatant, but we respect her right to oppose. We validate her right to oppose and accept it. We don't organize attacks on her to squash her voice. This is why I want to ask Ms. Mamta Bannerjee, that today you're going to sit with the Communist Parties and vote with them, and then you're going to oppose them for West Bengal's politics, what kind of understanding is this Mamta Ji? What kind of coalition is this?
Mr. Speaker, I was mentioning that the differences don't just exist between the people. The difference in their programs are to behold as well, when their Minimum Program was introduced, I studied it completely from cover to cover. I thought I had misread something, this couldn't be possible and I read it again, and I couldn't help but utter out that Bravo, my communist friends, you covered the distance between Lenin and Yeltsin in one week itself?
Mr. Speaker, I can understand the constraints of a coalition, there are constraints when a coalition is formed. Some things need to be ignored, some things need to be partnered on, but I didn't expect someone doing a headstand to flip into a somersault. Mr. Speaker it is mentioned in this that the Insurance sector will be privatized and it will be opened to foreign companies as well? I was surprised because I couldn't help but remember the incident from an year ago. Looks around where is Mr. Chaturanan Mishra? Mr. Speaker I want to tell this through you, I was the president of the Petition committee in Rajya Sabha, the chairperson of the committee on petitions.
A petition was presented in front of our committee, in which it was mentioned that the recommendation to privatize Insurance section companies such as LIC and DIC which has come from the Malhotra committee should not be accepted. This was the petition, and let me surprise you by telling you that this petition, which needs to be counter signed by one Member of Parliament, was countersigned by none other than this person. It is a co-incidence that he has come from Rajya Sabha to Lok Sabha with me and will probably become a cabinet minister in a few days, this petition was countersigned by none other than Mr. Chaturanan Mishra.
Mr. Speaker, it was also said to me that if this report was implemented, this petition will turn infectious, and therefore at least an Interim direction must be given to the government so that it doesn't get implemented. Being the Chairperson of the Petitions Committee, I had then given directions to the government that as long as this committee does not report it's findings, which we will do very shortly, please do not implement the recommendations of the Malhotra committee.
Also, this Petition Committee, prior to giving it's report on this petition had called upon members from all political parties and representatives from all political parties had come, there's nothing wrong that I'm saying in this. Mr. Speaker, the Premiere member of this United coalition, Janata Dal, whose government is there, whose minister... gets interrupted
Speaker to the interrupting Member of Parliament: You're a minister, if you have something to say, if you think there's something objectionable, please say it. If something is against the rules please tell me. No, you're a minister now, she is referring to a document that has been presented in this house, what's wrong with that? She is referring to those proceedings from her point of view, what can I do?
No, she has the freedom to quote those proceedings, please tell me a rule where it says that she cannot quote them.
I am referring to your party Mr. Prime Minister. The honorable Prime Minister, I would like to draw your attention please.
I would like to say this again, with Mr. Dewe Gowda, Mr. Chaturanan Mishra and Mr. Somnath Chatterjee listening to me, my party's policies state that open up to privatization for your own countrymen, but don't open it up for foreigners. But I'm quoting from your party's policies, I am referring to the somersault you've done on your political standings in the blind race to achieve power. All I want to imply from reading out these policies is that, due to the greed of being in the government and getting into power, people can change so much, that the issues you've been doing your politics on for the past 50 years, you have now completely and totally left them behind? Only because in your lust for power, you have to stand shoulder to shoulder with Congress and Janata Dal.
This is why I am telling you Mr. Speaker, that they can leave these issues in this house, but when they get out of here and go to there respective constituencies, their ground workers aren't going to let them surrender these issues, and this internal conflict is going to be the reason for the collapse of this government. Mr. Ramvilas Paswan and Mr. Sharad Yadav was saying that this government is going to run, Mr. Narasimha Rao has said that it's going to continue. In reality, Mr. Narasimha Rao is silent, and Mr. Sharad Pawar, is not playing the role of Sharad Pawar, he is actually playing the role of Lalita Pawar.
Chandra Shekhar: What did she say? Speaker: Lalita Pawar Chandra Shekhar: If it is her experience about him, why should there be an objection?
Thank you so much Mr. Chandrashekhar, today you've been spot-on with your comments.
Speaker: Please conclude
This is why I want to say to Mr. Sharad Yadav, that this is not a new experiment, your Guru Mr. Rajnarayan has done this experiment before. Within 20 days Congress withdrew it's support, and my respected leader Mr. Chandra Shekhar is in attendance, within 4 months they had withdrawn support from him, on what basis are you trusting them? There should be some basis for your trust, have you not learned anything from History?
Anyhow, why should I speak about Congress? Why should I speak about them? I rather ask Mr. Sharad Yadav himself, that brother, our Samajwadis have their own history as well, just now Mr. Sharad Yadav was saying that Dr. Lohia was here. The Samajwadis have two quotes of Dr. Lohia ready-made to make the government or leave the government. First, they quote Dr. Lohia "To defeat Congress, it is okay to shake hands with even the Devil", and second "Get better or break apart"
So Mr. Speaker, now keeping BJP instead of Congress in the frame, Mr. Sharad Yadav is advocating the act of shaking hands with the devil but it's just a matter of a few days "Get better or Break apart" will also happen, and why shouldn't it happen, it's quite justified. When the 65 lakh-ones are in the cabinet and the 3 lakh-ones are ignored.
This is why it is rest assured that "Get better or Break apart" will definitely happen. I would now like to conclude my speech Mr. Speaker, that these people are saying that the government will last for 5 years, but I am saying that this Political orchestra will disperse even before the show begins, they are so used to singing their own tunes.But yes, however many days this nation stays in your hands, I pray that may Lord protect the country. With this, I firmly oppose the confidence motion.