Angry opposition members on Thursday repeatedly stalled proceedings in the Lok Sabha on the issue of denial of the Central Vigilance Commission's report on defence purchases to the Public Accounts Committee, forcing three adjournments.
Congress, Left parties and RJD members were on the offensive since the House assembled in the morning, protesting against the developments in the Rajya Sabha on the CVC issue on Wednesday. The Lok Sabha had witnessed pandemonium on Wednesday on the same issue, leading to its adjournment for the day.
They stormed the well each time the House re-assembled shouting anti-government slogans.
NDA members, including those from BJP and the Shiv Sena, retaliated hurling charges on Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took strong exception to Congress chief whip P R Dasmunshi's reference to the RS proceedings, saying that the Lok Sabha had no right to discuss them and demanded an apology.
Dasmunshi sought to know from Speaker Manohar Joshi whether the development in the Upper House had transgressed the right and powers of the Lok Sabha.
Amidst the din and clashes between ruling and Opposition members, Speaker Manohar Joshi adjourned the House thrice.
In the midst of the uproar, the Speaker expunged references made by Dasmunshi to the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. He further said none of the slogans raised by members would form part of the proceedings.
Calm was restored at 1400 IST when the House re-assembled with Dasmunshi saying that his party would not come in the way of the Private Members' business which, he maintained, had not been taken up for quite some time.
To a remark by BJP chief whip V K Malhotra that good sense had ultimately prevailed on the Congress, Dasmunshi shot back saying that Malhotra probably did not know the long-standing tradition of the Congress which had never interfered with Private Members' business.
Following Dasmunshi's submission, Deputy Speaker P M Sayeed, who was in the chair, took up the Private Members' business.
On Thursday morning, an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi failed to resolve the standoff over the CVC report on defence purchases.
Congress chief whip P R Dasmunshi expressed his party's displeasure with Rajya Sabha Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's ruling that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee need not make a statement on the issue of denial of the CVC report to the Public Accounts Committee. He said it was unprecedented as the matter was before the Lok Sabha, informed sources said.
The Upper House chairman had also stated that the CVC probe did not cover equipment bought during the 1999 Kargil conflict.
Joshi, who had several meetings on Wednesday, including with Congress member and PAC chairman Buta Singh and Defence Minister George Fernandes, made it clear that he would not allow any further discussion on the matter.
The sources said Dasmunshi and BJP chief whip V K Malhotra had a heated exchange of words at the meeting.
Others who attended the meeting included Somnath Chatterjee (CPI-M), Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (Rashtriya Janata Dal) and Shivraj Patil (Congress).
Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha was on Thursday adjourned till Monday after members suggested that the afternoon private members business be postponed to next week to enable them to leave early for their constituencies to participate in Independence Day celebrations.
Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah adjourned the House after Zero Hour.
Earlier, during Question Hour, the entire opposition barring Samajwadi Party member Rama Shanker Kaushik stayed away from the House to protest against Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's ruling on the CVC report on Wednesday.
Though as many as 42 special mentions were to be taken up during Zero Hour, only 13 from BJP, TDP and AIADMK members were taken up in the face of the boycott by the opposition.
Sensing the mood of the House, Heptullah adjourned the House after Railway Minister Nitish Kumar introduced the supplementary demands for grants for Railways for 2003/04, which was originally scheduled for the post-lunch session.