THE MONSOON Session of the Maharashtra Assembly started on a chaotic note Monday with 12 BJP MLAs being suspended from the House for a period of one year for allegedly abusing and manhandling the speaker in chair and Shiv Sena legislator Bhaskar Jadhav.
The suspended legislators include Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Majahan, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Parag Alavani, Harish Pimple, Ram Satpute, Jayakumar Rawal, Yogesh Sagar, Narayan Kuche and Kirtikumar Bhangdiya.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab, who moved the suspension resolution, said, “Twelve members misbehaved in the House and used abusive language against the speaker in the chair. They also attempted to pull up the speaker’s mic and mace.”
The conflict began when senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbul stood up to introduce a resolution in the state legislative assembly seeking the release of empirical data on the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) by the Centre for providing political reservation to the community in the local bodies in the state.
Jadhav, appointed as one of the four members of the panel of speakers by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal Monday, was the speaker in chair when Bhujbal rose to speak about the resolution. The speaker in chair presides over the House in the absence of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker.
Even before Bhujbal read out the resolution, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis raised a point of order. Jadhav, in his capacity as speaker in chair, allowed Fadnavis to speak on the issue. But even as the former CM was speaking, some BJP legislators entered the Well of the House.
Amid the din, Jadhav asked Bhujbal to table the resolution. However, some BJP MLAs reached the speaker’s podium and tried to pull up the mic and mace. While the resolution was passed amid the chaos, Jadhav adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
Miffed with the adjournment, Fadnavis and a group of legislators subsequently entered the speaker’s chamber and allegedly misbehaved and threatened Jadhav.
“When I was sitting in the speaker’s chamber, Fadnavis reached there followed by other BJP leaders. While I asked them to sit there, the Opposition leader was not in the mood to calm down. By that time, around 50-60 BJP legislators entered the chamber. They used abusive language against me and were threatening me like goons. It is a black day for me and for the state. This is also a disgraceful and shameful incident for the state,” Jadhav later told the Assembly.
A resolution to suspend the offending legislators was taken upon the demand of Sena MLA and party’s chief whip Sunil Prabhu and NCP minister Nawab Malik.
Parab, who moved the suspension resolution said, “Despite the repeated instructions, these members misbehaved in the speaker’s chamber and used abusive language and manhandled Jadhav. So, these members should be suspended for one year and entry to the legislature should be restricted to them during the suspension period.”
After the resolution was passed, BJP legislators staged a walkout. Fadnavis, however, on the floor of the house, acknowledged that while the language used by some of the legislators was “inappropriate” they had offered an apology to Jadhav immediately. “Soon after, the apology was offered three times to Jadhav immediately,” Fadanvis said and requested the government not to take action without holding discussions with the Opposition.
“The resolution of suspension passed is one-sided and is a murder of democracy. It is a deliberate attempt to reduce the Opposition numbers as we continuously attack the government. This is like a Mughal rule,” Fadnavis said outside the House.
In the evening, the 12 suspended BJP MLAs met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and handed him over a memorandum requesting to seek a report from the government on it. The memorandum, signed by all 12 suspended MLAs, stated the action of suspension is not accepted by them and the false claim of using abusive language has been put on them.