12 Maha BJP MLAs suspended for a year for ‘abusing, pushing’ acting Speaker

Twelve BJP MLAs of the Maharashtra assembly were suspended for a year for allegedly using abusive language and for “pushing” and “shoving” the acting assembly Speaker Bhaskar Jadhav. BJP has denied the charges and claimed that the government suspended the legislators as part of a plot to bring down the opposition numbers and to “silence” them.

The suspension happened after a heated debate in the assembly earlier in the day over the OBC community in the state losing their reservation for the local body polls. A resolution was to be passed by the House asking for the Centre to hand over empirical data of the OBCs to the state. The confrontation happened after food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal blamed the Centre and PM Modi for OBCs losing the quota.

BJP members took offence over the allegation and wanted Bhujbal’s remarks to be expunged. However, Jadhav, who was officiating as Speaker, did not allow the BJP MLAs to speak. As the BJP leaders began protesting near the well of the house, Jadhav adjourned the house. The BJP MLAs then trooped to the deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal’s chamber where Jadhav was sitting.

When the house reassembled, Jadhav said he was abused, in a most filthy manner, by the BJP MLAs who behaved aggressively and pushed him. “They behaved like goondas and fell on me… This is a black day and shameful in Maharashtra’s history as such a situation has never happened before,” Jadhav said in the House. He asked legislative affairs minister Anil Parab to take action on the issue.

Former CM Devendra Fadnavis Fadnavis, who spoke after Jadhav complained about the BJP MLAs’ actions, claimed that Jadhav was not abused nor manhandled and said the party had already resolved the issue with Jadhav and apologised to him. Jadhav, however, disagreed with Fadnavis’ version. Following this, minister Parab read out a resolution to suspend the 12 BJP MLAs for their unruly behaviour for a year, which was passed by a voice vote.

Later in the day, the suspended MLAs met the governor and sought his intervention in the matter. Ashish Shelar, chief whip of the BJP, who has also been suspended, said the governor has assured ‘appropriate action’.

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