A political debate involving candidates from the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency descended into chaos on Saturday after supporters of Bharatya Janata Party nominee Ananth Kumar and Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani created a ruckus, forcing the organisers to call off the programme midway.

Trouble broke out when Mr. Ananth Kumar began attacking the Manmohan Singh government and Congress supporters accused the BJP leader of deviating from the topic of debate. This prompted the BJP supporters to resort to sloganeering.

Mr. Ananth Kumar and Mr. Nilekani tried in vain to calm the frayed tempers of the supporters of their respective parties.

Suresh, a Congress supporter, said Mr. Ananth Kumar was making comments irrelevant to the debate, while BJP workers said Congress supporters were unable to stomach the facts and figures provided by their leader on the crumbling economy.

Earlier, when Mr. Nilekani was speaking, a section of the audience shouted slogans demanding that he speak in Kannada. Aam Admi Party candidate Nina P. Nayak and Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Ruth Manorama also participated in the debate organised by the Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) and moderated by Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

Mr. Ananth Kumar told presspersons that the Congress was not ready for “a healthy democratic debate”, accusing the party of having disrupted a democratic discussion.

But, Mr. Nilekani said he was disappointed with Mr. Ananth Kumar, who had no interest in talking about his agenda.