RJD's jailed parliamentarians Pappu Yadav and Mohammed Shahabuddin were at the centre of controversy in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday with the opposition BJP accusing the government of taking the help of convicted MPs to save itself - and Pappu Yadav turning the tables by saying that he had been approached by the BJP to cast his vote against the government.
The resultant furore led to an exasperated Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourning the house for 15 minutes in the middle of the debate on the crucial trust motion that will be voted on later in the evening.
It started when veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader VK Malhotra charged the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government with taking the help of convicted MPs to save the government.
"This is a government against the people and a government which has not done anything. The government has brought convicted prisoners to the parliament to save the government. It is pathetic that the government has to bring such people," the BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha said.
The remark led to heated arguments, forcing the speaker to intervene.
"Don't refer to them as convicted prisoners, They are members of the house. They are entitled to come here. You can't make comments like this," Chatterjee said.
Malhotra was targeting MPs of the Rashtriya Janata Dal - Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and Shahabuddin. At the charge, both MPs got up to protest.
Soon, charges and counter charges were flying.
Said an angry Pappu Yadav: "I was approached by senior BJP leader Malhotra to cast my vote against the government. I had been keeping quiet. He approached me to defeat the government."
Malhotra was shocked and said after three-four minutes: "I never met him."
He then countered by saying that he had never met Pappu Yadav and "jail records would prove him right".
Following uproar from treasury benches, the speaker was forced to adjourn the house till 12.15 p.m.
Pappu Yadav has been convicted for the murder of Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Ajit Sarkar, while Shahabuddin has been sentenced to life imprisonment for a kidnapping of a political activist in 1999. Both have been brought to the parliament to vote in the floor test.