Rahul Gandhi today stormed the well in the Lok Sabha raking up the issue of "rising" communal violence and questioned the impartiality of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, drawing heavy fire from the government which accused him of "contrived aggression" because of a "palace coup" in Congress.
Normally reticent and a back-bencher, the Congress Vice President entered the Well for the first time in more than 10 years to join his party members in pressing for an adjournment motion to discuss the incidents of communal violence, a demand opposed by the government.
As the House assembled for the day, Congress pressed for suspension of the Question Hour to take up the debate immediately.
Rahul joined his slogan-shouting party colleagues in the Well after some discussion with his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, while opposing the motion, said there was no communal tension in the country.
Amid the din, the Question Hour went on except for a brief adjournment.
Speaking to reporters outside the House, Rahul said Opposition was not being allowed to speak in Parliament and "it is completely one-sided, partiality", in comments seen as raising questions on the Speaker.
"We are not being allowed to speak in Parliament. We are asking for discussion. There is a mentality in the government that discussion is not acceptable. Everybody feels it, their party feels it, we feel it, everybody feels it," Gandhi said. "There is a mood in Parliament that only one man's voice counts for anything in this country.... The Speaker, I mean.... It is completely one-sided, partiality. That's what we are raising," he said.
The Speaker rejected Rahul's allegation of bias and said equal opportunity is given to all members and parties.
However, she maintained that if somebody chose to make allegations, she cannot help it.
Hitting out at Rahul, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his "contrived aggression" was a compulsion as the party leadership was facing a "palace coup" within, an apparent reference to demands from some Congressmen for Priyanka Gandhi to play an active role in the party.
Contending that Rahul was making an issue out of a non-issue, Jaitley said, "The reason is very clear. Today a section of the leadership of the Congress party, because of its inability to lead, has been under pressure. They have been facing a palace coup. It's a coup within their own party."
He took a dig at Rahul for alleging that opposition members are not allowed