Dalit youth leader and independent MLA from Vadgam constituency, Jignesh Mevani, was on Monday suspended from Gujarat Assembly for the current session after he opposed a resolution moved by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to express the House’s commitment in spreading the values of the Indian Constitution by celebrating November 26 as the Constitution Day.
Monday was the first day of the three-day session. Constitution Day is celebrated on November 26 to commemorate the adoption of the statute book.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was speaking on the resolution when he mentioned how the idea of celebrating Constitution Day was first floated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. Patel said that to honour the Constitution, Modi then organised a procession with a copy of the Constitution on a decked-up elephant in Surendranagar district.
Mevani intervened and said, “And then you fired bullets on Dalits in Thangadh (of Surendranagar district)”, referring to three Dalit youths who were killed in police firing in Thangadh town of Surendranagar district of Gujarat in September 2012. The weapons used in the firing included AK-47 assault rifle.
Following Mevani’s comments, Speaker Rajendra Trivedi asked Mevani not to violate the discipline of the House. The Speaker also told him that his speech was being deleted from the records of the Assembly. However, Mevani continued speaking. Pointing fingers at the treasury benches of the BJP, he said, “You all do not believe in Constitution, but Manusmruti.”
Speaker Trivedi repeatedly warned Mevani of action, but the latter continued speaking. When the Speaker told him that he will have to suspend Mevani, the latter said, “I feel proud to get suspended on this day.”
To this, the Speaker said, “You are proud for this drama. You are proud for this to get publicity in newspapers.” Mevani was then taken out by the marshals on Speaker’s order.
Immediately after this, CM Rupani rose on his seat and moved a proposal to suspend Mevani for the entire session because of his “intolerable indiscipline”. Senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama supported the proposal, saying that Mevani insulted the Speaker of the Assembly by his behaviour.
Leaders of the Opposition Congress, including Paresh Dhanani, Amit Chavda, Shailesh Parmar and Naushad Solanki, said that since Mevani is a first-time MLA, he may be suspended for one day instead of the entire session of three days. However, this was not allowed by the Speaker who said that it may be considered once Mevani tenders an apology for his behaviour.
Later, Mevani posted a video on Facebook and ruled out chances of an apology. Mevani said that only those people, who are following the ideals of Ambedkar, have the right to talk about the Constitution.
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