Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien was on Tuesday suspended from attending the rest of the Winter Session of Parliament, ANI reported.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion for the suspension, alleging that O’Brien had thrown a copy of the Parliament rule book at the Chair of the Upper House during a discussion on a Bill about electoral reforms, according to PTI.
The motion for the suspension was passed in the absence of Opposition MPs in the House, The Hindu reported.
At Tuesday’s proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, Opposition MPs were protesting at the Well of the House against a provision of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, that allows linking of Aadhaar with voter IDs.
Members of the Opposition parties, including O’Brien, were demanding a division of votes on the Bill, but Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha Harivansh passed the law by a voice vote.
During the ruckus, O’Brien accused Harivansh of “doing the same thing you did on farmers bill”. The three contentious farm laws, which have now been repealed, were also passed in the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote. Harivansh was in the Chair at that time too.
Biju Janata Dal MP Sasmit Patra, who was in the Chair when O’Brien allegedly threw the rule book, said that the Trinamool Congress MP had raised a point of order against Harivansh’s actions. Harivansh had duly responded to the point of order, but a little later, O’Brien flung the rule book in the direction of the Chair, Patra alleged, according to PTI.
“The rule book would have hit the chair, or secretary general or officials sitting at the table,” he added.
However, O’Brien demanded that the footage of him throwing the rule book should be made public.
“Oh! Really? Who said I threw the rule book? Show me the footage,” he told NDTV. “They are censoring TV inside Parliament.”
Following the action against him, the Trinamool Congress MP recalled that he had been suspended from the House during the discussion on farm laws as well.
“The last time I got suspended from RS [Rajya Sabha] was when govt [government] was BULLDOZING #FarmLaws,” O’Brien wrote in a tweet. “We all know what happened after that. Today, suspended while protesting against BJP making a mockery of #Parliament and BULLDOZING #ElectionLawsBill2021. Hope this Bill too will be repealed soon.”
He has also changed his Twitter display picture to a quote that reads: “You can suspend me, you cannot silence me.”
O’Brien’s suspension could add to the impasse in the Upper House. Proceedings have been marred during the Winter Session because of the suspension of 12 Opposition MPs last month.
The MPs were suspended on November 29 for allegedly being unruly and violent during the Monsoon Session in August. The session was marked by disruptions in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha because of the Pegasus spyware row and the farm laws.
The suspended MPs are Elamaram Kareem of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Congress’ Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Communist Party of India’s Binoy Viswam, Trinamool Congress’ Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, and Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai.
Fifteen Opposition parties have been protesting against the suspension for the last two weeks.