An angry Congress President Sonia Gandhi was at her combative best after senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Wednesday dubbed as 'illegitimate' the 2009 election, a remark which he later retracted.
It being the first day for Sushilkumar Shinde as Leader of the Lok Sabha, Gandhi virtually took the reins in her hands and signalled party men to protest vociferously.
Gandhi was seen strongly objecting to the remark, apparently seeking its withdrawal, and her proactiveness energised party members of Parliament as also those from the Dravida Munettra Kazhagam and the Trinamool Congress to counter the BJP.
Her aggressive stance prompted Shinde, as also Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, to play on the front foot by assailing the BJP leader over his comments and asking him to make amends.
Gandhi, who is heading the United Progressive Alliance for the last eight years, was never seen in such a mood since Congress came to power via the coalition route in 2004.
Even after the House was adjourned for lunch, the UPA Chairperson was seen interacting with MPs and ministers on the issue and making it clear that the Congress and the UPA would not take things lying down on the matter.
Earlier when the House was not in session, Gandhi had sent out a stern message to party MPs from Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh as she was heard telling them that they should not embarrass the party by waving placards and raising slogans in the House.
Her remarks came shortly after the MPs had waved placards demanding a separate Telangana which, along with disturbances on other issues, led to the adjournment of the House for the first time.