New Delhi: Union Minister Rajiv Shukla was on Tuesday caught in a controversy as he was heard telling Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to adjourn the House after the opposition created uproar over CAG report on coal blocks allotment to private firms.

Kurien, who was elected as the Deputy Chairman, had just occupied the Chair when members of entire Opposition started shouting slogans against the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government.

Amid the din, Shukla, who is Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, went to the chair and whispered in the ears of Kurien, "Pure din Ke liye House adjourn kara dijiye liye (Adjourn the House for the day)."

The whisper, however, was caught on Kurien's mike and got rpt got amplified. The House was adjourned soon after for the day.

Significantly, minutes earlier Kurien, while accepting felicitations on his induction, had said that he will try to accommodate views of all members in running the House.

Criticising Shukla's action, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said it has "exposed Congress design" to disrupt Parliament and not allow it to function.

"Congress is engaging in double speak as on the one hand it is telling the Chair to adjourn the House and on the other hand they are blaming the BJP for causing disruptions.

"They have been badly exposed and they are not interested in running the House," Javdekar added.

Former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap disapproved of Shukla's conduct saying "It is undignified for a member to walk upto the chair and advise...Members or Ministers should speak from their seat."

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, however, said that Shukla may have given a suggestion which was not binding on the Chair.

Kurien later sought to dismiss the controversy saying that the Chair gets suggestions from both the treasury benches and the Opposition. "I consider them as opinions," he said.

"Chair takes independent decisions and not because 'x'or 'y' suggests something. I have taken independent decision for which I am responsible," the Deputy Chairman said.

Shukla said it was not unusual for a minister to give his opinion to the Chair when there is uproar in the House.

"There is nothing unusual about it. I can always give my opinion to the Chair. The final decision is of the Chair," Shukla said.

He said that even the Opposition gives its opinion to the Chair.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, "The impartiality and independence of the Chair stands compromised. It is a sad day for Parliament."

(Agencies)

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