Maharashtra Assembly Speaker-in-chair Bhaskar Jadhav on Monday suspended 12 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs for a year for allegedly abusing and manhandling him, NDTV reported.

“The Opposition leaders came to my cabin and abused me using unparliamentary language in front of [former Chief Minister] Devendra Fadnavis and senior leader Chandrakant Patil,” Jadhav told reporters. “Some leaders even manhandled me.”

A resolution was passed in the Assembly to suspend the 12 MLAs, according to India Today. Monday was the first day of the Monsoon Session of the Maharashtra Assembly.

The suspended legislators are BJP’s Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkalkar, Parag Alavni, Harish Pimpale, Ram Satpute, Vijay Kumar Rawal, Yogesh Sagar, Narayan Kuche and Kirtikumar Bangdia.

The alleged ruckus took place after the Opposition leaders claimed that they were not given sufficient time to speak in the Assembly about Maharashtra seeking 2011 Census figures from the Centre to prepare empirical data on Other Backward Class, or, OBC population in the state. As Opposition leaders created an uproar, Jadhav adjourned the Assembly. The matter escalated when BJP leaders allegedly went to Jadhav’s cabin.

Fadnavis, however, denied all the allegations levelled against the saffron party leaders. “The government has created a story out of the incident,” he claimed. “Our MLAs did not abuse the speaker. There were some heated arguments but our senior member Ashish Shelar apologised to the speaker-in-chair on behalf of all MLAs. Later, the government came up with this plan to suspend our MLAs.”

Shelar later told reporters that the Maharashtra government was “acting like Taliban”, and accused leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena of using abusive language in Jadhav’s chamber.

OBC census data

The Maharashtra Assembly on Monday passed a resolution urging the Centre to provide the 2011 census data to enable the State Backward Class Commission to prepare an empirical data of the OBC population, PTI reported.

The resolution, moved by the state’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, was passed by a voice vote amid protests from BJP members. The House was adjourned on two occasions as BJP leaders said that the resolution was politically motivated and will serve no purpose.

The resolution holds significance in light of the Supreme Court judgement, which in March, ruled that the number of seats reserved for OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in local bodies should not exceed 50% of the total seats.

The court quashed notifications issued by the Maharashtra Election Commission, which provided more than 50% reservation to OBCs and SC/STs in the Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis of Washim, Akola, Nagpur and Bhandara districts. It also cancelled the elections of OBC candidates in these districts in 2019 and 2020, and ordered that polls be conducted again.

The Maharashtra government passed the resolution on Monday on the basis of a part of the judgement which asked the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission to conduct an empirical inquiry to ascertain political backwardness of the OBCs.

The BJP supports reservation for OBCs in local governing bodies, but is against the resolution passed on Monday.

Fadnavis claimed that the 2011 Census data has eight crore mistakes, of which 69 lakh were related to Maharashtra, PTI reported. “The Supreme Court has not asked for Census data,” he said. “The resolution is [a] time pass, face saver [measure] and misleading, and will not yield anything.”