Pandemonium ruled the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday after Chairman Hamid Ansari invoked a rarely used rule to ask an MP from the AIADMK to leave the House for disorderly behaviour.
The MP, V Maitreyan had demanded a reply from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was present, on Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu's admission that he had used his official position to get gas for companies owned by his family members. Baalu had made the admission in the House on Wednesday.
In Chennai, meanwhile, Baalu's admission led AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa to demand his sacking and the PM's resignation. Pointing out that Baalu himself had admitted in the Rajya Sabha about using his ministerial post to get the concession she urged the Prime Minister to drop Baalu from the Union Ministry forthwith. "The Prime Minister himself should resign from his post for aiding and abetting Baalu's acts," Jayalalithaa said in a statement.
The trouble began as soon as the House proceedings began in the morning, as Ansari rejected Maitreyan's demand and asked him not to disrupt the proceedings. However, refusing to listen to the chair, Maitreyan continued with his demand for a reply from the Prime Minister. An Angry Ansari rebuked the AIADMK member saying, "You are humiliating the chair. I have never seen such behaviour earlier. It is unbecoming of a parliamentarian." Other AIADMK members too left their seats in support of their colleague. "You are violating the rules of the House," Ansari told them. Ansari then said the House procedures were being deliberately violated, and he read out Rule 255. "I am invoking this rule against you (Maitreyan)," Ansari said, after which Maitreyan walked out of the House. Other AIADMK members, though not reprimanded, followed suit. Baalu, who had admitted in the Rajya Sabha that he had "put in a word" with the Petroleum Minister to get natural gas allocation for a company, which he headed before becoming a minister in the NDA government in 1999, was also present in the House at the time. Neither Manmohan Singh nor Baalu intervened during the entire episode.