Derek O'Brien has been suspended from Parliament for the rest of the session (File)
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien was suspended from Parliament on Tuesday for the rest of the Winter Session after he allegedly threw the rule book at the Chair and walked out of the Rajya Sabha during protests over an election reforms bill. He will spend one day out of the Rajya Sabha as the session ends today.
The opposition was protesting against the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, which has been passed in both houses amid fierce protests. Derek O'Brien quoted extensively from the rule book to argue that the bill was being rammed through the Rajya Sabha without enough notice to members. Yesterday, it was cleared amid massive protests by parties who said it would be wrong to link Aadhaar numbers with voter IDs.
"(Derek O'Brien) flung the rule book furiously in the direction of the Chair. The rule book would have hit the Chair, or Secretary General, or officials sitting at the table," said Sasmit Patra, who was presiding over the house at the time.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal, the leader of the Rajya Sabha, said: "The way TMC leader Derek O'Brien has thrown the rule book, this is not only the insult of the chair or the secretary general or the table or the House, it is an insult to the entire country."
But Mr O'Brien, reacting to the allegation, snapped: "Oh! Really? Who said I threw the rule book? Show me the footage." He went on to demonstrate, with a bottle, what the act of "throwing" is.
"They are censoring TV inside parliament," he alleged, speaking to NDTV.
He said the government had railroaded the bill much like it did the controversial farm laws, which were recently taken back.
In a series of tweets, Mr O'Brien hit out at the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"The last time I got suspended from RS was when the government was BULLDOZING farm laws. We all know what happened after that. Today, suspended while protesting against BJP making a mockery of parliament and BULLDOZING the Election Laws Bill 2021. Hope this Bill too will be repealed soon," Mr O'Brien tweeted on Tuesday.
"After breaking every rule and precedent, BJP has the gall to give lectures about the Rule Book. Irony just died. (Only two people at the funeral) Guess who," he wrote.
He also tweeted a video of his arguments in the house.
"Has it been available for two days before the day the motion is made? If a bill is passed in the Lok Sabha at 3 pm, where is the time provided? This bill cannot be listed today. But anything can be done...you can also manufacture a majority," the Trinamool Congress leader lashed out.
"Where have I got the time, as a member of this house, to put in a resolution to send this bill to a select committee? There is nothing left! You want to bring a bill. This is a hopeless bill..."
Harivansh Narayan Singh, Deputy Chairperson, said the bill had been allowed at shorter notice under rules.
After walking out of the Rajya Sabha in a huff, Mr O'Brien tweeted a mobile phone video alleging that the government was bulldozing legislation.
"Rajya Sabha TV is being censored. All opposition MPs are in the well of the Rajya Sabha, objecting to the bill linking Aadhaar with voter ID. The government is bulldozing it. Like the farm bills, a mockery is being made out of parliament. This is worse than Emergency. TV is being censored, parliament is being killed," said the Trinamool leader, adding that he had been forced to come out and record himself on the phone.
Mr O'Brien joins 12 more members who were suspended on the first day of the session over allegations of unruly behaviour. They have been showing up at the parliament complex every day and sitting in front of the Gandhi statue.