All five members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were suspended from the Telangana legislative assembly on Sunday as they tried to stall the proceedings to protest the Muslim reservation bill.
A bill seeking to raise the reservation quota for Scheduled Tribes and backward sections among Muslims was tabled in the Telangana Legislative Assembly in a one-day special session on Sunday.
Speaker Madhusudhana Chary announced the suspension of all the BJP members after Legislative Affairs Minister Harish Rao moved a resolution to this effect.
BJP floor leader G. Kishan Reddy and the party's state President K. Laxman were among the lawmakers suspended from the house.
The BJP members raised slogans against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government and tried to disrupt the debate on the draft legislation that seeks to increase quota for the Muslims and the Scheduled Tribes to 12 and 10 per cent respectively.
Earlier, participating in the debate Kishan Reddy termed the bill unconstitutional and said it would not stand judicial scrutiny.
He said the BJP was strongly opposed to reservations on the basis of religion, and alleged that injustice was done to the Backward Classes by including Muslims in the BC (E) category.
Kishan Reddy said the four per cent quota provided to the Muslims by the previous government in undivided Andhra Pradesh was struck down by various courts and the case was still pending in the Supreme Court.
He found fault with the TRS government for clubbing the ST reservation with the Muslim quota in a single bill.
He has said that such a move would hurt STs in the event of courts striking down the bill.
Earlier, the bill was approved by the state cabinet in a meeting on Saturday.
The bill was introduced in the assembly as per the TRS' election promise to make efforts to provide 12 per cent quota each for backward sections among Muslims and STs.
The state government would make efforts to realise the promise, though it required Centre's nod, as it was part of TRS' election manifesto, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had said earlier this week.
The state government would urge the Centre to take up the issue as the percentage of quotas would go beyond the 50 per cent cap, he had said.
The Centre would have to give its assent as 69 per cent quota is already under implementation in Tamil Nadu, he had said.
As the TRS government is exactly following the Tamil Nadu model, the increased reservations should be incorporated in the 9th Schedule of Constitution so that it cannot be questioned in court, he had said.
The opposition BJP has been strident in its opposition to the proposal, alleging that it is against the spirit of Constitution as it is "communal".
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had on Friday said the implementation of reservations on the basis of religion may result in social unrest in the country and "lead to creation of another Pakistan".
Speaking at a BJP meeting organised on the occasion of the Ambedkar Jayanti, Naidu had also hinted that Telangana's proposal to hike reservations for certain sections may not be constitutionally valid.
"We are not opposing (reservation on religion basis) because KCR (Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao) wants to implement it," he said, adding, "The BJP opposed such a move even when Rajasekhara Reddy (late CM of united Andhra Pradesh) and Chandrababu Naidu (present CM) also tried to do that."
"We will oppose any such move because it will lead to creation of another Pakistan. It is an all India policy of the BJP. It is not the policy of Telangana unit of the BJP," he had said.
Chief Minister KCR, however, had asserted that the reservation is proposed to be given not on the basis of religion, but on the basis of backwardness.