Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla on Tuesday landed in controversy after he was caught on record allegedly telling Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House amid an uproar over the coal scam.
Just as Kurien had occupied the Chair, Opposition members on Tuesday started shouting slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government over a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal mining blocks.
Amid the chaos, Union Minister Shukla approached the Chair and whispered in the ears of Kurien, "Pure din Ke liye House adjourn kara dijiye (Adjourn the House for the day)" to which Kurien responded as "Yes".
The exchange was caught in Kurien's microphone and amplified. Soon after, the House was adjourned for the day.
The incident sparked a fresh row over the apparent "instruction" served to the chair by a minister.
Criticising Shukla´s action, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said it has "exposed Congress design" to disrupt Parliament and not allow it to function.
"Congress is engaging in double speak as on the one hand it is telling the Chair to adjourn the House and on the other hand they are blaming the BJP for causing disruptions. They have been badly exposed and they are not interested in running the House," Javdekar said.
However, defending his move, Shukla said, "What is the big deal? It´s nothing unusual. If the Opposition is not letting the House function, we can always give our suggestions to the Chair."
"It´s upto the Chair to decide whether he wants to accept our suggestion. It has always been like this," he added.
Kurien, who earlier in the day while accepting felicitations on his induction had said that he will try to accommodate views of all members in running the House, he also asserted that the decision to adjourn the House was his own.
"I came to the conclusion that the House cannot continue. There is no question of (taking) instructions from (a) minister," he said.
"They are not instructions, not even suggestions. The Chair considers them only as opinions and then Chair will take its independent decision, irrespective of what this side or that side (says)," the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman added.