A day after Congress MLA from Unjha, Asha Patel, was suspended from the Gujarat Assembly for two days, the issue dominated a significant part of proceedings of the House on Thursday. Patel was suspended after her “unparliamentary” comment while walking out of the House on Wednesday. Asha Patel, a professor, is a first-time MLA from Unjha constituency of Mehsana district who defeated veteran BJP Patidar leader Narayan Patel from the BJP bastion in the Assembly elections.
On Thursday, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani sought to revoke Patel’s suspension on the grounds that she was new and had expressed her feelings which were not against anybody personally. Supporting Dhanani’s proposal, Deputy Leader of Congress Legislative Party Shailesh Parmar said that when Patel had made certain comments, the House was not in order and the comments were not recorded.
Invoking the Patidar card, Parmar said that the Unjha MLA was not only a woman, but a Patidar MLA and the Speaker should revoke her suspension. However, the proposal was strongly opposed by the treasury benches. Parliamentary Affairs minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said that being a woman coming from academic background, such comments were not expected from Patel.
Chudasama also criticised Parmar for bringing the issue of the suspended MLA’s caste. He asked, “A couple of days back, there was news that you people were not raising certain issues in the House. Is this comment in response to that?” Incidentally, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel had recently criticised the Congress party for not raising the issue of Patidars in the House.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel also opposed the proposal, saying that the House not being in order did not mean that a member could behave in any manner and use language that she felt was fit. At one point, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the ruling party did not have any issue in the revocation of the Unjha MLA’s suspension from the House if she apologised for her comments before the Speaker in his chamber. However, the Opposition did not agree to this since the comments were not on record.
Later, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja moved a Point of Order, seeking to rebuke the Opposition for its conduct on Wednesday. Congress MLAs sat outside the chamber of the Speaker on Wednesday and protested. Jadeja said that the entire Assembly complex was under the control of the Speaker. He said that such behaviour from the Opposition party was deplorable. Speaker Rajendra Trivedi reserved his ruling on the Point of Order.