Manmohan Singh government was put in the dock by the opposition, Left allies and even some ruling Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha on Friday on "relentless" increase in prices of essential commodities, accusing it of being a mute witness.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram faced a near empty house as the entire opposition led by BJP staged a walkout which was followed by Left allies, SP and coalition partner RJD.
Chidambaram was constantly interrupted while responding to two-day-long debate on the price rise.
Even some Congres members including Harisinh Chavda, Manvendra Singh, Chandrashekhar Dubey and Rajesh Mishra criticised the government vehemently, prompting Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs BK Handique to caution them against interruption.
Cutting across party lines, member after member attacked the government saying there was no control on spiralling prices of all essential commodities with speculators and blackmarketeers having a field day in the "absence of any action" by government.
Chidambaram sought to defend the government saying a combination of fiscal, monetary and supply actions were underway and assuage their feelings saying prices would be brought under control.
At the same time, he put the onus on state governments for not taking action to curb prices and blackmarketing by invoking the Essential Commodities Act, repealed in 2002, after taking permission from the Centre.