New Delhi: It was an unusual duel in parliament Wednesday when an aggressive Prime Minister Manmohan Singh used an Urdu couplet to lambast the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj responded in kind with two verses.
In his over 40-minute reply to the debate on the motion of thanks for the president's address to parliament, the prime minister said that the BJP had made unwarranted attacks on his government by using "choicest abuse".
"Humko hai unse wafa ki umeed, jo nahi jaante wafa kya hai (We hope for loyalty from those who do not know the meaning of the word)," the prime minister said, quoting famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.
This evoked thunderous response from the treasury benches.
When his speech ended, in which he tore through the opposition party asserting that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) govermnment's performance was better than the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and he didn't want to "use the same language" as the BJP, Sushma Swaraj stood up with a smile.
She immediately narrated the verse of Hindi poet Bashir Badr: "Kuch to majbooriya rahi hongi yun koi bewafa nahi hota (There must have been some compulsions, one is not disloyal for no reason at all)."
She then went on to say that the party's compulsion was that Manmohan Singh was disloyal to the nation and that's why it cannot be loyal to him.
She then broke into a second verse: "Tumhe wafa yaad nahee, Humein jafa yaad nahee, Zindagi or maut ke toh do hee tarane hain, ek tumhein yaad nahee, ek humein yaad naheen (You don't remember loyalty, we don't remember disloyalty, life and death have two rhythms, you don't remember one, we don't remember the other)."
Sushma Swaraj too got a thunderous response from her party members.
The prime minister just smiled.
This is not the first time both have exchanged Urdu and Hindi verses to hit out at each other.