It took the members of the Samajwadi Party walking out of the Rajya Sabha in protest to let the house get down to business.
After several adjournments forced by shouting members of the Samajwadi Party, the debate began on the quota bill, which proposes reservation for Dalits and tribals in government jobs.
"Reservation should not be implemented in a manner that it allows reverse discrimination," said BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
The quota bill has been deemed essential by BSP leader Mayawati and unacceptable by Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party, with their extreme positions rooted in playing to their vote banks.
Neither Mr Yadav nor Mayawati participate in the government at the Centre, but provide external support to the shaky coalition. Last week, they rescued the government, facilitating an important victory in Parliament on the contentious decision to allow foreign supermarkets into India.
Sources said that voting on the bill is likely to take place on Monday. Mayawati has been consulted by the government, said sources, which will offer two changes to the proposal in Parliament - efficiency and an Annual Confidential Report which evaluates performance of government employees will be used to determine who qualifies for promotion.
When the Samajwadi Party's MPs shouted and caused chaos in the Rajya Sabha this afternoon, PJ Kurien, who was presiding, asked two party leaders to leave the House; they refused. All nine Samajwadi MPs then walked out in protest, and discussions on the controversial bill began.
Yesterday, in an unprecedented low for parliamentary protocol, Mayawati turned on Chairman Ansari, attacking him for failing to run the House and begin a discussion on the proposal for reservation.
In response, the PM and others assured Mr Ansari of their faith in his ability today; Mayawati, who was unrepentant yesterday, said, "I respect you. I respect the Chair."