Acrimonious scenes were on Monday witnessed in the Rajya Sabha as members from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Lok Janshakti Party and Nationalist Congress Party clashed over the issue of reported low Muslim representation in admissions to private schools in Delhi.
The sharp exchanges during Zero Hour also led to a heated argument between Ram Vilas Paswan, who raised the issue and BJP members, who alleged that Paswan was casting aspersions on P J Kurien (in the Chair) by calling him a Congressman since he did not allow the LJP leader more time.
As BJP members got on their feet to insist that Paswan should withdraw his words, Kurien told the LJP leader, "If you have made any insinuation against the Chair, it is a bad thing and it should be condemned. The Chair does not belong to any party. He has to be totally neutral."
Paswan later clarified that he had not made any such remark.
Trouble started when Paswan, in his Zero Hour mention, waved the copy of a newspaper report that pointed out very low representation to students from the Muslim community in this year's nursery admission, with not a single Muslim child in at least 20 of them.
As soon as he raised the issue, BJP leader Balbir Punj rose on his feet, opposing the invoking of religion in things like school admission.
NCP leader Tariq Anwar supported Paswan, calling the BJP leader "biased".
Paswan alleged that the BJP props up Muslims as spokespersons but gets agitated whenever issues related to Muslims come up. "Are Muslims not citizens of this country? Will only Muslims raise their issues," he asked.
He said the condition of Scheduled Castes is worse than Muslims as far as admissions to private schools are concerned.