Samajawadi Party (SP) leader Yashvir Singh Wednesday snatched a copy of the bill on quota in promotions from Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy in the Lok Sabha, leading to the house being adjourned for the day.
Yashvir Singh snatched the copy as Narayanasamy was about to table it in the house for its consideration and passing after repeated adjournments over the bill.
Sensing trouble, Congress member Vilas Muttemvar immediately got up and pushed the SP member aside thinking Yashvir Singh could harm Gandhi.
As other Congress members gathered around Yashvir Singh, Speaker Meira Kumar, visibly surprised with the suddenness of the act, immediately adjourned the house for the day.
Government sources said an angry Sonia Gandhi accompanied the speaker to her chamber and discussed the issue with her.
Kamal Nath said that in his 32 years, he had never seen such an incident which "disrespects parliament".
"It's a sad day for parliamentary democracy. A section of the house will disrupt the proceeding and not allow debate to be taken up. They may have a different view but they can debate and vote against it. If you don't allow the house to function, how will parliament work," he said.
Amid uncertainty over the bill's fate, the government said it would bring it again Thursday, the last day of the winter session which started Nov 22.
"The government will bring the bill to the Lok Sabha tomorrow (Thursday). Adamancy of a party has to be reflected in the debate. This is frustrating parliamentary democracy," Kamal Nath said.
The Constitution (One Hundred Seventeenth Amendment) Bill, 2012, was passed in the Rajya Sabha Monday.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said the government's move to table the bill was "unconstitutional".
"We will continue to oppose the bill. Juniors will become seniors (if it is passed). Who will tolerate this? We will go to the people on this," Yadav told reporters after the house was adjourned.
The Congress chose not to attack Yadav, who supports the ruling United Progressive Alliance government from outside and helped it in defeating a vote against foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail in parliament two weeks ago.
But the party said the snatching of the bill was unfortunate.
"How can we tell Mulayam Singh to react to this bill? We wish he would come on board with us. We are sad that such an episode happened inside the house," Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury told reporters.
"We never make enemies with anyone. We are a larger party. We try to keep good relations with everyone," she said.
Both SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who have diametrically opposite views on the bill, have been disrupting both the houses of parliament over it.
Anxious over a delay, BSP chief Mayawati had even taken on Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari saying running the house was his responsibility.
Mayawati, whose party supported the government in the upper house of parliament in the vote on FDI in retail, said she wanted the government to pass the quota bill early.