I was elected to Parliament in 1970. My first trip abroad was as part of a parliamentary delegation to Czechoslovakia in 1972. The Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Gurdial Singh Dhillon was the leader of the delegation.
Those days Czechoslovakia had been very much in the news. In 1965, following assumption of leadership of the Czechoslovak Communist Party by Alexander Dubcek, the Party contemplated drastic changes in domestic policy â€“ restoration of the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and imposition of severe restrictions on the secret police. This plan of action described as the â€˜Socialist Democratic Revolutionâ€™ by the Czechs deeply upset Moscow.
In 1968, an angry U.S.S.R. decided to crush these â€˜Democraticâ€™ proclivities. Czechoslovakia was invaded with 600,000 troops. An armed purge of all liberals in the Communist Party was carried out, Dubcek was thrown out, and a new government installed. The country was once again reduced to its earlier status of being Moscowâ€™s vassal state.
When I agreed to go to Czechoslovakia with the parliamentary delegation, I thought to myself why not visit U.S.S.R. also on the way? So I planned my trip to Prague via Moscow. The Secretary General of the Lok Sabha Shri S.L. Shakdhar, who later became the countryâ€™s Chief Election Commissioner, tried hard to dissuade me. â€˜You belong to the Jana Sangh. Your partyâ€™s critical opinions about Communism and about Moscowâ€™s invasion of Click to Read More
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!