As Railway motormen brought Mumbai to a standstill, MPs, including from Congress, on Tuesday paralysed functioning of Parliament over the issue, expressing solidarity with striking employees and targeting Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for failing to avert the situation.
Proceedings in the Lok Sabha were disrupted as Opposition members, particularly those from Shiv Sena, BJP and Left parties, continuously created uproar forcing three adjournments till 5:30 pm.
Members of these parties, along with those of Congress and RJD, said the notice for agitation had been given months back and questioned why the Railway Minister did not do anything to resolve the matter.
Banerjee was away in West Bengal in connection with Municipal polls.
The issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha also with BJP members accusing the Railway Minister of "inaction" and demanding a response from the government on the matter.
Lok Sabha witnessed an impromptu debate, which was capped by a clash between Trinamool and Left members after Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay apparently hurled some expletives at CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia.
Bandopadhyay lost temper when Acharia, along with members of other parties, was insisting on immediate response from Banerjee.
Nothing could be heard in the din that followed Bandopadhyay's attack on Acharia. Several members were seen rushing towards the Trinamool leader to pacify him.
While Acharia remained calm, his party colleague Ramachandra Dom responded angrily to Bandopadhyay's utterances, leading to a clash and prompting Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn the House till 2 pm.
Similar scenes were witnessed when the House reassembled and it was adjourned till 5:30 pm.
The CPI-M also moved a substantive motion in Rajya Sabha to demand explanation from Trinamool Minister Adhikari about his reported statement to the media that he had sent money for supply of weapons through a Bangladeshi arms dealer.
"I have met Leader of Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal and told them that Bandopadhyay's behaviour is completely condemnable and unacceptable. The way he threatened and moved menacingly towards Acharia is unbecoming of a member," CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury told a press conference in New Delhi.
"It is not just a question of Acharia, but a matter involving the dignity of the House. The member, who shouted at Acharia and hurled expletives against him in the House, must apologise as the entire Opposition has demanded," he said.
It is for the Congress and the government to decide as to "the kind of allies they have. They have to decide whether they would condone such behaviour", Yechury said.
Acharia said he had been in the House for 30 years but "never seen seen such behaviour. In fact, I never expected such a behaviour when Bandopadhyay moved forward menacingly."
He said he had just wanted to know from the government whether it was going to withdraw invocation of Essential Services Maintenance Act against the striking motormen when Bandopadhyay shouted at him.
Observing that TC members 'have always been shouting and coming forward when I raise some issue in the House', Acharia said when Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee was absent, 'Bandopadhyay spoke as if he is a minister'.
"It is for the government to say why Banerjee was absent."