Things in Rajya Sabha took an ugly turn on Tuesday when opposition MPs climbed on the officials' table, waved black cloth and threw files when the House began a discussion on farmers' protest against new reform laws.
Several MPs stood on the table where the parliamentary staff sits right below the chair, while others crowded around it shouting anti-government slogans. A few members squatted on the tables for over one-and-half hours during which proceedings were adjourned multiple times.
No sooner had a discussion on the farmers' issues been called, MPs belonging to opposition parties including the Congress and the TMC trooped into the Well shouting slogans seeking withdrawal of the controversial farm reform legislations.
As vice chairman Bhubaneswar Kalita called members to speak on the issue, Sanjay Singh of AAP climbed on the table right below the presiding officer's chair and starting chanting slogans against the farm laws.
This forced Kalita to briefly adjourn the proceedings. As the House marshals brought Singh down from the table, Congress' Pratap Singh Bajwa climbed the table, shouted slogans and then hurled a file at the Chair. Ripun Bora of his party too was seen standing on the table for some time.
All this happened during the adjournment period.
Sloganeering by the opposition and counter-sloganeering by BJP MPs continued inside the House even after the short adjournment.
While TMC and DMK members came wearing black shirts, kurtas and sarees, Congress members were seen sporting black ribbon bands. Some wore black Nehru jackets, black shawls and even black masks.
When the House re-assembled, Singh was back on the table and this time he was joined by Binoy Visman of CPI, CPM's V Sivadasan, Congress' Deepender Hooda, Ripun Bora and Rajamani Patel, DMK's M Shanmugham and Mausam Noor of TMC, leading to another adjournment for 30 minutes. An MP waved a black cloth as pandemonium prevailed.
While Rajya Sabha television did not show the scenes of ruckus, opposition MPs recorded the events and posted them on their Twitter handles.
When the House reassembled, Kalita announced that Deputy Chairman Harivansh has invited all floor leaders for a meeting, but the opposition persisted with its protest, forcing another adjournment.
As the ruckus continued when the House met again, the proceedings were adjourned for the day.
Outside the House, Bajwa said he had to climb on the table to highlight the "anti-farmer policies" of the Modi government and that he was willing to face any punishment including suspension. He said the Congress will continue with its protests against the "anti-farmer laws".
When Kalita announced a discussion on farmers' issues soon after the House assembled after a pre-lunch adjournment, Congress chief whip Jairam Ramesh cited a ruling by the Chair in 2015 and said his notice for calling attention motion has been converted into short duration discussion without taking the sense of the House.
This, he said, was a unilateral decision. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi countered him saying it has never happened but was willing to go for a sense of the House if that was required.
Kalita said Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had admitted a short duration discussion and fixed a time for it. He then called the first speaker, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar of the BJP, to speak.
This prompted opposition MPs to rush into the Well of the House shouting slogans.
The monsoon session of the Parliament has seen opposition MPs stall proceedings demanding discussions on the Peagus snooping issue as well as on farmers' agitation and price rise.
Six TMC MPs were suspended for the day earlier this month for carrying placards into the Well while one was suspended for the whole session for snatching papers from IT and Telecom Ministers and tearing it up.
Last September, Rajya Sabha had witnessed unruly behaviour by opposition members during the passage of the contentious farm bills with MPs throwing the rule book at the chair, breaking microphones and launching paper missiles.
Eight MPs were suspended for the remainder of the session.
inputs from PTI