The Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned twice yesterday after members complained of a foul smell that they suspected could be a gas leak. The functioning of the house was restored at 12 noon after the smell subsided.
Halfway through question hour at around 11.30 am, members complained about the smell and said it could be a gas leak though it was not immediately clear where the odour was originating from.
Chairman Hamid Ansari immediately adjourned the house for 15 minutes. The house was later adjourned for 15 more minutes till 12 noon by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien.
Kurien said in the parliamentary gallery later that it was like an “LPG (cooking gas) smell but I cannot say definitely”.
D Raja of the Communist Party of India said members got scared after the “strong” odour spread in the house and urged the chairman to adjourn it briefly.
Various members reacted to the incident in different ways.
Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP joked, “We talk of nuclear safety, we should at least ensure safety of smell in the house.”
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan said she thought the smell was from the toilet. “I thought it was from the toilet. I didn’t realise till somebody said maybe it is a gas leak,” she said.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, meanwhile, said, “It has become difficult to sit there. Either hold your nose and sit or put some paper before it. I am surprised how those who run the Rajya Sabha cannot see it. Generally, I hope that in the next two days before celebrating 60 years (of the Rajya Sabha) we sit in a house where we can breathe freely.”
The incident came days after a 30-minute power breakdown disrupted working of both houses of parliament.