New Delhi: Acrimonious scenes were on Monday witnessed in the Rajya Sabha as members from BJP, LJP and NCP clashed over the issue of reported low Muslim representation in admissions to private schools in Delhi.

The sharp exchanges during Zero Hour also led to a heated argument between Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), who raised the issue and BJP members, who alleged that Paswan was casting aspersion on P J Kurien (in the Chair) by calling him a Congressman since he did not allow him more time.

As BJP members were on their feet insisting that Paswan should withdraw his words, Kurien told the LJP leader, "if you have made any insinuation against the Chair, it is a bad thing and it should be condmened...the Chair does not belong to any party. He has to be totally neutral."

Paswan later clarified that he had not made any such remark.

Trouble started when Paswan, in his Zero Hour mention, waved the copy of a newspaper report that pointed out very low representation to students from Muslim community in this year'a nursery admission with not a single Muslim child in at least 20 of them.

As soon as he raised the issue, Balbir Punj (BJP) rose on his feet opposing invoking religion in things like school admission.

Tariq Anwar (NCP), however, supported Paswan calling the BJP leader "biased".

Paswan alleged that BJP props up Muslim as spokespersons but gets agitated whenever the names of Muslims come up. "Are Muslims not citizens of this country? Will only Muslims raise their issues?" he asked.

He said the condition of Scheduled Castes is worse than Muslims as far as admissions to private schools are concerned.