After a lull, the Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam scam returned to disrupt the proceedings of the Lok Sabha today as Congress members stormed the Well holding placards and shouting slogans, much to the dismay of the Speaker.
The 25 Congress members, whose five-day suspension by the Speaker had ended on Friday evening, were back in the House in full strength. During their suspension, several opposition parties were either boycotting the proceedings in solidarity or walking out of the House all these days.
Amid bedlam created by a united opposition, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for 30 minutes at the suggestion of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to call leaders of various parties to break the logjam.
Yadav's suggestion did not find favour with Congress as Sonia Gandhi was seen saying "no" and party leader Mallikarjun Kharge suggesting that the SP leader was giving his individual views.
As Yadav again sought to press his point, Gandhi was seen telling partymen to resume slogan shouting in the Well, which was temporarily stopped when the SP chief was speaking.
While Yadav, his nephew and party colleague Dharmendra Yadav, RJD's Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav and AAP's Bhagwant Mann decided to meet Mahajan, Congress members refused to do so.
Placards and slogan shouting were back in the House as soon as Speaker rejected opposition's notices of adjournment motion to discuss Lalit Modi issue and Vyapam scam. In his speech, Kharge slammed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for making a statement on the Lalit Modi issue last week when virtually the entire opposition was not present in the House.
Taking a dig at Swaraj who was not present then, Kharge said she had "used or misused" the situation of the absence of the opposition by delivering a "long speech".
"But her statement will not end the issue...what she has done (her alleged help to Lalit Modi) is not in national interest. She has helped a fugitive, an economic offender... check the files about what (then Union minister) P Chidambaram had said," Kharge said.
When he alleged that the help extended to the former IPL chief was "not humanitarian", but "commercial" in nature, there was an angry reaction from the treasury benches.
Speaker asked Kharge not to raise the issue further and said the Opposition can raise it later.
While most Congress members were in the Well raising slogans and holding placards, they were joined by some members from the Left parties. While some other Left members were standing on their seats, Trinamool Congress members too were standing on their seats but not raising slogans.
YSR Congress members were also on their seats holding placards demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. While in their last rounds of protest, Congress members had concentrated on Lalit Modi issue in their placards, today they targetted Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan for "48 deaths" in Vyapam scam. Demanding jail for him, they also sought a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.