George, George, George. What are we to do with you? Every time we wrack our brains to defend our favourite ex-anti-establishmentwalla George Fernandes, co-inventor of the Fosbury Flop and the original Medha’n’Arundhati rolled-in-one kurta, there enters his most powerful bete noire: George Fernandes.
Defence Minister during the NDA regime, Mr Fernandes opened his mouth recently, stating that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had told him to stay away from the Bofors file. This, obviously, put the NDA, of which Mr Fernandes is still the convenor, in an awkward position. Here were his colleagues making life difficult for the Congress by pointing to an unholy CBI-Congress-UPA congress in the ‘non-attempt’ to nab Ottavio Quattrocchi, and there he goes shooting his mouth off. But tender George knows a mistake once he has made one. So off he goes mumbling something about being quoted out of context (always a tried and tested way of getting out of a sticky situation) and saying that Mr Vajpayee had been joking when telling him to not peek into the Bofors files (ha, ha, yes, um...).
Mr Fernandes’ mouth has a life of its own. Whether describing China as India’s “No. 1 enemy” or matter-of-factly telling us that rapes committed during the 2002 Gujarat riots are “things that happen”, he has proved to be quite a dynamite of an embarrassment. So what advice can we give him at this stage of his careening career? George, George, George. Ever thought about joining the Samajwadi Party?