The Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party on Thursday blocked in the Lok Sabha a bill to provide reservation for SCs and STs in government job promotions, delaying the measure which was seen as quid pro quo for Bahujan Samaj Party's support to United Progressive Alliance on Foreign Direct Investment in retail.
Just before the House was adjourned sine die after a month-long Winter session, Speaker Meira Kumar regretted that her efforts to get the proposed legislation passed could not succeed.
The House was adjourned repeatedly on the last day of the session because of pandemonium created by SP and BJP and then sine die at 5.30 pm.
High drama was witnessed in the House when the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012 was moved for consideration by Personnel Minister V Narayanasamy, four days after it was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Soon after the bill was moved for consideration at around noon and P L Punia of Congress started speaking, SP members rushed into the well, shouting slogans against the proposed legislation.
In the midst of the din, senior BJP leader L K Advani was on his feet seeking to speak on the subject, but was not allowed as Punia kept on speaking. This angered BJP members who termed it as an insult to the main opposition.
Advani himself was visibly very upset and was seen conveying his angst to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy when they came to talk to him.
After two brief adjournments, when the House reassembled at 1.15 PM, BJP members also rushed into the Well raising slogans 'pratipaksh ka aisa apmaan, nahi chalega (insult of the opposition will not be tolerated)'.
Amid pandemonium, Congress members came into the aisle shouting slogans in support of the bill.
Incidentally, Narayanasamy did not read from a copy of the bill and spoke extempore. The bill was snatched from him by SP member Yashvir Singh on Wednesday when he was introducing it.
The BJP, which had supported the legislation in the Rajya Sabha, apparently wanted time to consider it arguing that it was not the original one as amendments had been made in it.
On the other hand, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Congress leader Girja Vyas were seen talking to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who appeared unrelenting on his opposition to the bill. Vyas and Sibal too were seen speaking to Gandhi.
BJP members were also requesting Yadav to control his members so that Advani could speak. As the appeals fell on deaf ears, Ananth Kumar (BJP) was heard warning Yadav that he would also not be allowed to speak next time.
Amid persistent uproar, the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm. When the House reassembled, similar scenes were witnessed and Deputy Speaker Karia Munda adjourned the House for another 30 minutes.
Similar scenes were witnessed when the House re-assembled at 2.30 pm.
Amid pandemonium created by SP and BJP members in the well, Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK) protested shouting "down down anti-Dalit".
As noisy scenes continued, the Chair adjourned the House till 4 pm.
The BSP Chief Mayawati and her party MPs from the Rajya Sabha were present in the gallery to watch the proceedings.
During the adjournment, Kamal Nath was again seen reaching out to Swaraj, Advani and Mulayam. Social Justice Minister Kumari Selja was also seen talking to Yadav.
Some MPs from Congress and BSP and ministers including Kapil Sibal were seen talking to Sonia Gandhi during the adjournment.
When the House met at 4:00 pm, it was adjourned till 5:30 pm as attempts continued to bring about consensus among members on the quota bill, the fate of which appeared to be sealed.
At 5:30 pm, the Speaker said she had tried her best to see the bill through but to no avail and read out her valedictory remarks before adjourning the House sine die.