Rajya Sabha

January 9, 2019

Derek O’Brien speaks on The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019

Derek O’Brien speaks on The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019


Mr Deputy Chairman, the law-making process in India has changed. There is the right method which respects Parliament. What is that right method, which we learnt in our school civics books?

(I) The ministry proposes a Bill

(II) The Bill is circulated within the Cabinet

(III) The Cabinet clears it,

(IV) Bill is put out for opinion and then Sir stakeholders participate, share ideas, those things may or may not be incorporated

(V) The Bill comes into Parliament, the Bill is scrutinized then amendments are brought, if necessary

(VI) We debate it on the floor of the House

VII) Amendments studied, accepted, rejected



Sir, the Trinamool Congress is disgusted, we are angry that the Parliament has been disrespected. Complete disrespect. And this is the wrong method which has been used here.

Sir if that is the right method then what is the wrong method? Let me tell you:

(I) One fine winter morning in Delhi someone gets an idea that ‘chalo, Constitution badalna hai’. Kyun badalna hai?  Some people have said, the elections results. Yeah sure, the elections results and how badly they did is one (reason). There may be a second reason. Please look at all the opinion polls which are coming out now, Sir. NDA (is getting) 150 to 175 seats. That is the reality. So, you bring this (Bill), which is a statement of intent but this is no reservation in real terms, this no reality, no jobs in real terms. It’s a statement of intent. We all support the statement of intent.

Sir yeh Bill is a dhoka to the yuva. Gareebon ko dhoka, aam aadmi ko dhoka but Sir, parliamentarians and we are not some members of Gymkhana Club in Ahmedabad, we are elected parliamentarians; 776 elected, 12 nominated in this House, two in that House so 790; people have sent us here. I want to ask this Government, what are you doing to this institution of Parliament? You are disrespecting it, you are spitting on it and this is not rhetoric! Today there is no rhetoric but hard facts.

The track record of previous Governments: 65-70 percent of Bills have been sent for parliamentary scrutiny. In this Gymkhana Club,

(i) Only 20 per cent of Bills have been sent for scrutiny

(ii) Four out of five laws have been passed past year without scrutiny,

(iii) nine out of 10 Bills on security, law, strategic affairs have been passed without any scrutiny by Parliament.

(iv) In this session, fourteen new Bills have been introduced. Guess how many have gone to scrutiny? One!

I can carry on Sir. We know about the Rail Budget as well; that has disappeared. This cannot go on like this, Sir. We have serious objections to this. That’s the first point on the method being used.

Second, will this Bill pass judicial and constitutional scrutiny? Sir, I don’t want to go into a big legal debate here but enough to say what we learnt in our school civics books. Parliament legislates, the executive will execute, in between, the Supreme Court will interpret the laws. We are supreme, but this is also one of the few countries where the Supreme Court interprets the law. So there are enough judgements which the earlier speakers have noted.

I thought, rather than quoting the Supreme Court judgements, which in any case have been quoted, I found something else. In December 2017 – you are not allowing us to play audio, because I’ve got the audios in case you want me to play them, but this is the quote – when the BJP poll manifesto was being released in Gujarat (and one of the parties here, the Congress, had put in something), a Rajya Sabha MP had said (I won’t quote any Lok Sabha MP, I might as well quote a Rajya Sabha MP) regarding the demand for 50% reservation for Patidars,

“This vision is based on constitutional impossibility, quota beyond 50 per cent is impossible.”

Who said this? Not some backbencher from the Rajya Sabha, but the Leader of the House, Arun Jaitley ji, in December 2017.

Sir, the Supreme Court will ask you some questions. So I want to alert this Government, like the way we alerted them during demonetisation (and yet they crashed the plane). The Supreme Court will ask them that give us some evidence, how much survey you did, tell us about the distribution of jobs in the last 10 years in the general category. Do you have any numbers to prove this? Because if you start looking at those numbers, it may prove that number is already 35 per cent.

This Bill is actually an acknowledgment of guilt. And what is that guilt? ‘We haven’t created jobs in the last four-and-a-half years, so bring the Bill’.

The Bill is also very interesting because it redefines India’s poverty line – Rs 32 a day. Looking at the number, Rs 8 lakh income per year, the new poverty line is Rs 2,100 a day, because the Bill is only taking the word ‘economic’ and putting it there. That’s the easy part. Now you come to the other part, and that’s where these people won’t happen.

The youth of the country are asking, where are the jobs? You promised us two crore jobs, and now you are giving us ‘pakoda-nomics’. We’ve made the point about income tax, about the 97 per cent. It has already been made, so I don’t want to labour on it. If you take the 97 per cent hoodwink, don’t pay income tax. Then, if you take the Rs 8 lakh annual income, it doesn’t even add up to less than 0.1 per cent.

I want to take it now to the next step because this is the promise they had made. In the next few minutes I want to prove to you that they’ve got a track record of an illness to make promises and not cover them. We have names:

(I) Startup India,

(II) Digital India,

(III) Skill India,

(IV) Stand-Up India,

(V) Make in India.

I hope the next time they also come up with something in Hindi so that we can all understand. This new scheme is called Cheat India. If I say anything unparliamentary, throw it out. I’ve given you one reason why this Cheat India will not work.

Cheat India Part 2: Doubling farmers’ income

In 2016, the Prime Minister had said, “doubling farmers’ income by 2022”. Let me give a little example from my State. In Bengal, under Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, we made the same promise. But we fulfilled it in 2011. We haven’t doubled farmers’ income but tripled it. It was Rs 91,000 per annum then.

Cheat India Part 3: Demonetisation to curb black money

   At 8PM on TV – the Cabinet is called after it is recorded – I’m not going into those details. Demonetisation to curb black money… I do not want to go to anything more about demonetisation, because, my leader Mamata Banerjee within 90 minutes, slammed the move. I want to place on record today, if you look at the history of past 100 years, this may be the largest man-made disaster ever.

Cheat India Part 4 – Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – promised housing for all by

  1. These are Government figures Sir. One out of five houses have been built. Where will we be in 2022 we do not know.

Cheat India Part 4 – Skill India Mission – to skill 40 crore people by 2022

Government that says did a survey. In that survey, 72 percent of India’s naujawan – again you are trying to fool with this Bill, but, they will not get fooled – had not even heard of Skill India.

Cheat India Part 5 – PM promised 2 crore jobs per year – We all know about the great promise of creating 2 crore new jobs annually. Whereas, India lost 110 lakh jobs in 2018. We remember the promise of Rs 15 lakhs. In fact, if you had brought those 15 lakhs, you would not have needed to bring this Bill also.

Sir, for all the complaining, we in the Opposition are doing about job crisis, there is good news also. Jobs are being created. There are some organisations, I have the list, which are hiring. Organisations such as Nation with NaMo in addition to hiring IIT, IIM graduates, lots of young people. There are hiring. If you don’t get a job, you can at least become a foot soldier of the party. Or become a troll and earn some money.

Cheat India Part 6 – Women’s Reservation:

Sir, after I make this point, I want to sit for 30 seconds, because I want to yield; I hope   someone from BJP will interrupt me and say ‘Done’ and I will sit down. Then I will go to the other points. The Congress also made this point about Women’s Reservation. That is Cheat India. Because they called it Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. But, the actual phrase which they forgot ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Beti Ko Roko’.

Two examples with numbers. My party AITC gave 35 percent of 2014 Lok Sabha seats to women candidates, BJP gave 10 percent. Does it matter how many you give, how many actually come to the Parliament? We AITC do not need the Women Reservation Bill, because we have already implemented it. 35 percent of the 34 AITC MPs already in that house, Lok Sabha, are women MPs. 50 percent of local bodies in Bengal are ladies. Now the elections are coming, someone said bring the Bill, yes bring this Bill. No response. Ok.

Sir, one thing that this government has done really well is marketing. Listen to this. Sir, the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme. Total Budget was somewhere between Rs 600-700 crore, from the time it started. Divide it by the number of States, the number comes to Rs 3-4 crore per State. Per State. Question is, how many girls’ lives have you touched? That’s cheating.

Look at Kanyashree scheme in our State, Bengal. Budget is not Rs 100 crore, nor Rs 500 crore. It is Rs 5,500 crore. That is not Cheat Bengal. 60 lakh girl children have been tocuhed. Their lives have changed. That’s why the United Nations has given it the ‘Program of the Year’.

Sir, these are the kind of realities. I had a mama – uncle – he used to play a game with me as a child when I was about 6 or 7. He’d buy me one chocolate, put the chocolate in my pocket, take it out and after two minutes give it back to me. And each time I thought he was giving me a new chocolate. But it was the same chocolate he was circulating.

Modi interview on reservation July 22, 2013:

Sir, I am missing someone, we are all missing someone – our Pradhan Mantri. Haven’t heard him, haven’t seen him… only seen him on television. So I took a lot of care to find out a video interview of his. But you won’t let me place the video, because I thought in this day of technology, I could play the video here so that we could all hear him since you can’t hear the real thing. So at least you can hear the audio. For instance sir, I have got the transcript. Sir, the video is interesting.

This was on July 22, 2013. When I last checked this morning at about 10.30, it was still on Youtube.

The PM, who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat then, was asked, ‘on caste-based reservation in India, what is the long-lasting solution?’ – and this was not translated to English, he gave the interview in English .

He said, If there were job opportunities for all, who should ask for reservation? We have to create an era of plenty. Once we create an era of plenty, then no one will ask for reservation. We are wasting our time. It is because our whole economic system is a scarcity system. We have to move from a system of scarcity to a system of plenty. And Gujarat is a model for plenty.”

What happened between then, the election results, now the exit poll…suddenly everything got changed. So you are bringing this knowing fully well that you cannot implement this. All the noble intentions…

Famous Roti  song still relevant today:

Sir, when I was in school, I would watch a lot of Hindi films. Rajesh Khanna was my favourite, and there was this famous song from the film Roti. And today, the youth are asking the same question, Sir.


Yeh jo public hai, yeh sab janti hai

(I am a very bad singer Sir, so I will not sing.)

Aj andar kya hai, bahar kya hai – yeh sab kuch pehechanti hai!

We can sing it in chorus when the House adjourns…



I want to end, first on a pessimistic note, and may be then on an optimistic note.

The pessimistic note: I was very bad at maths in school. I was terrible. But I always know that if the jobs are zero currently, and you say 10 percent of zero, the answer is zero.

I want to end on an optimistic note: Coming soon is a coalition government that may have a Common Minimum Programme. Right now, we have a single party government with a Confused Maximum Programme.

Thank you, Sir.