Derek slams BJP for ‘cowboy constitutionalism’

Leader of the Trinamool Congress in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien today slammed the BJP for its ‘cowboy constitutionalism’. He was speaking during a special discussion on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary year of Dr BR Ambedkar and Constitution Day.

He slammed Arun Jaitley, the Leader of the House, for his disparate remarks about the legality of Rajya Sabha. Citing the example of how the Constituent Assembly was indirectly elected by State Legislatures, Derek said that this was a precursor to the Rajya Sabha.

Spree of Ordinances

Derek O’Brien went on to take on the spree of Ordinances under the current government. “For every ten Bills passed, the number of Ordinances under Pandit Nehru was one, during Janata Party rule it was 1.2. During the UPA 2 regime, 1.9 Ordinances were passed for every ten Bills. In the last 18 months, the number has gone up to three. This is another instance of cowboy constitutionalism of the BJP,” he said.

Actions not words

Highlighting the fact that the Constituent Assembly drafted the Constitution in less than three years, Derek rued the fact that several key bills, like Women’s Reservation Bill, were pending now for decades. “It is time for action. Trinamool Congress believes in action. 35% (12 out of 34) of our MPs in Lok Sabha are women,” he said.

Secularism debate

Speaking about secularism, Derek said that the line separating the fringe and the mainstream was fast blurring. Voices of divisiveness, which had gone silent for the last 10-12 years, were speaking up again. “We have to decide which idea of India we will adopt,” he said while slamming the divisive ideology of Guru Gowalkar. He quoted Mamata Banerjee, who in December, 2014, had said, “The Constitution is the only holy book of this great nation.”


Derek O’Brien slammed the Centre on the issue of federalism. “On one hand you celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar and on the other hand you cut funds for BRGF which benefits backward castes,” he said. He raised the issue of devolution of funds and criticised the Centre’s decision to delink funds for 8 schemes and tinkering with funds for 24 other schemes.

Constructive suggestion

While concluding his speech Derek gave a constructive suggestion of setting up of CAM (Constituent Assembly Modules) where young students can participate and share their ideas.


Click here for the full transcript