A war of words broke out between the opposition and the treasury benches in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shouting slogans against Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her role in appointing Suresh Kalmadi as chief of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee.
The BJP refused to apologise, leading to a short adjournment of the house. The verbal clashes broke out as Rajya Sabha was discussing sports minister Ajay Maken's statement that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government was responsible for the appointment of Kalmadi, who is now in jail for his alleged role in irregularities in CWG projects.
Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said Kalmadi had held a series of meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.
He said the Prime Minister had gone ahead with the selection of Kalmadi as chief of the Organising Committee even though the sports ministry and bureaucrats in his own office had recommended against it.
BJP members also shouted slogans stating that Gandhi was responsible for Kalmadi's appointment.
"Gali gali me shor hai, Sonia Gandhi chor hai (Sonia Gandhi is a thief)," the BJP members shouted.
This agitated the Congress members, who gathered close to the chairman's podium, to protest.
Amid the pandemonium, deputy chairman K Rahman Khan adjourned the house for 15 minutes. When the house reassembled, ruling party members were on their feet demanding an apology.
"This is a serious debate... if the idea is to call the Congress leader names, it is not acceptable," Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said.
"The leader of opposition must show generosity and apologise," he said.
The chair also directed the opposition to apologise.
"No member has the right to accuse... it is unparliamentary," Khan said.
The opposition members, however, remained adamant and refused to apologise. The chair then adjourned the house till 2pm for lunch.