All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen MLA Waris Pathan was on Wednesday suspended from Maharashtra assembly for refusing to say 'Bharat mata ki jai' with legislators cutting across party lines pressing for action against him through a unanimous resolution.
Pathan, who represents Byculla seat in South Mumbai, will not be allowed to attend the proceedings of the house till the end of ongoing Budget session.
Parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat said, "Pathan was suspended from the assembly for showing disrespect to national heroes and refusal to say Bharat mata ki jai."
It all began when the AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad, Imtiaz Jaleel, was speaking on the debate on the Governor's address in the assembly.
Jaleel said the government should not spend taxpayers' money on building memorials of 'great personalities'.
A Shiv Sena MLA interjected, saying Jaleel's party leader Asaduddin Owaisi had recently stated he will not chant 'Bharat mata ki jai'.
To this, Pathan said, "We will say 'Jai Hind' but not 'Bharat mata ki jai'. There cannot be compulsion on saying 'Bharat mata ki jai'. The Constitution does not say this."
Immediately after his remarks, MLAs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena and other Opposition parties including Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party demanded suspension of AIMIM legislators from the House.
Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said the AIMIM MLAs should apologise but his suggestion was shot down by angry members of the House, who, setting aside political differences, sought their suspension.
Bapat said he will table a resolution seeking the approval of the House for suspension of AIMIM MLAs, after which it was adjourned for 10 minutes. It was again adjourned thrice amid noisy scenes.
When the proceedings resumed, Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil tabled the resolution, seeking suspension of Pathan, which was approved unanimously.
"Pathan has misused freedom of speech, violated Parliamentary traditions and insulted 'Bharat Mata (Mother India)," the minister said.
The resolution was tabled in keeping with the sentiments of the House, he added.
"During his suspension period, Pathan won't be able to attend House proceedings and won't be allowed near Vidhan Bhawan premises," Patil said.
Speaker Haribhau Bagade informed the House that the resolution was adopted unanimously.
The AIMIM has expressed its opposition to chant 'Bharat mata ki jai' as proposed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat who had said that the new generation needs to be taught to chant slogans hailing mother India.
Owaisi had said he did not want to chant that slogan.
"What are you going to do, Bhagwat sahab. I won't utter that (slogan) even if you put a knife to my throat. Nowhere in the Constitution it says that one should say: 'Bharat Mata ki Jai," Owaisi had said addressing a public rally in Udgir tehsil of Latur district on March 13.
His comments had evoked strong reactions from the Shiv Sena and the BJP.