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Derek O’Brien of TMC not suspended from Rajya Sabha; voting on motion didn’t take place

Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien, was not suspended from Rajya Sabha as voting on the motion to suspend him did not take place on Tuesday. The clarification came hours after there were reports that Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar suspended O’Brien for the remainder of the current Monsoon session of Parliament “for unruly behavior unbecoming of a Member of Rajya Sabha”.

Piyush Goyal, the leader of the House moved a motion for his suspension “for continuously disturbing the proceedings of the House, disobeying the Chair and continuously creating the disturbance in the House”.

The decision on suspension of O’Brien is still pending with Dhankhar stating that the process did not fructify as he didn’t take the sense of the House. The House faced its first adjournment of the day till 12 noon after the chairman named O’ Brien and Goyal moved the motion for his suspension. The House faced two more adjournments till 12.45pm and 2pm.

Congress member Pramod Tiwari sought to raise the government’s move for the suspension of O’Brien when the House reassembled. The chairman said had the process fructified, O’Brien would not have been able to come to the House again.

Dhankar on Derek O’Brien’s behaviour

Dhankhar said, “This is too serious a matter for me to be overruled…After deep, immediate deliberation, I did not take the sense of the House earlier. If I had really fructified the process, O’Brien would have been out of the House. In my wisdom, I thought I must not take it to that conclusion at that point of time….”

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The chairman said he did it “to have space for consideration”.

“I am yet to conclude on Mr Derek O’Brien,” he said. Goyal said this is not the first instance of “such behavior” by O’Brien and said he resorts to “thumping of desks” and “speaking loudly to the chair”. He said no one in the House endorses such behavior. Goyal said despite his moving the motion, the chairman showed magnanimity.

“Let us agree to maintain decorum,” he said and added that O’Brien should express regret. “I think the least that can be expected of Derek O’Brien is that he expresses regret to the chair.”

He also said Derek O’Brien raised slogans from near the Chair’s podium against the directions.

“Derek O’Brien is directed to leave the house and is suspended for the rest of the session. The House is adjourned,” Dhankhar said.

After the House met for the day and took up the listed agenda, Dhankhar referred to the demand of opposition parties for discussion on the Manipur situation and said it had been on the agenda but did not fructify.

Goyal said he will check the availability of Union home minister Amit Shah and if the opposition members are willing, the discussion can take place at 12 noon.

The chairman said he had indicated that the discussion on the Manipur situation can go much beyond two-and-a-half hours and the government and the home minister have indicated their willingness.

O’Brien stood up to raise a point of order. The chair cautioned him not to say anything except the point of order. The Trinamool Congress member apparently referred to the notices given by opposition parties for discussion under Rule 267.

The chairman then named O’Brien. Goyal moved a motion for suspending the TMC MP for the remainder of the monsoon session. He also said O’Brien raised slogans from near the Chair’s podium against the directions.

The move came days after Dhankhar and the Trinamool Congress MP had a heated argument in the Upper House of Parliament. The chairman had accused O’Brien of making “engaging in theatrics” a habit, inviting a strong objection from O’Brien, who said he was quoting the rules of the House and demanding a serious discussion on Manipur.

The spat occurred when Dhankhar was addressing the members of the House and pointing out that the repeated disruptions in the House do not evoke respect among the people. He also spoke of how he was getting inputs from all over, indicating “alarming concern” over the situation in the House.

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