After BSP, JD(U) extends support to GST

Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of indulging in "cowboy Constitutionalism" on the issue of obstructions in Parliament.

New Delhi: After BSP, JD(U) on Tuesday announced its support to the government's economic reform measures including GST but the BJP-led ruling dispensation continued to face combined opposition attack on the issue of "intolerance" and the controversial remarks of some Union Ministers.

Participating in the debate on 'Commitment to the Constitution', Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of indulging in "cowboy Constitutionalism" on the issue of obstructions in Parliament.

Brien also got into a spat with Left leaders over his remarks that they cannot question the Right for "not participating" in the freedom struggle as they have also done the same.

Attacking the BJP over the issue of "Hindu Rashtra", KC Tyagi (JD-U) cited the low representation of Muslims in political and constitutional posts and castigated some BJP leaders for their 'Pakistan' remarks, reminding that Indian Muslims did not go to Pakistan during partition despite having the option.

"We support you on GST, Insurance Bill (on raising FDI cap to from 26 49 percent). We totally support you on Coal and Mines (Bills). But you should also ask your 5-6 ministers to cooperate with the Constitution. One says former president Abdul Kalam was Muslim yet he was a nationalist. Is being a Muslim some crime? Another one says those who vote for us are Ramzaade (progenies of Ram) while all others are Haramzaade (bastards). Will you take the revenge of what happened with Hindus in Pakistan with Muslims in India," asked Tyagi.

"Ambedkar would have never told even his opponents that they will be sent to Pakistan. Your minister speaks as if you are a travel agent of Pakistan. Ambedkar would have never supported that some particular religious book is imposed on all, the way an attempt is being made now to make India a theocratic state," the JD(U) leader alleged.

He also asked the BJP leaders to fight Congress but "not make an attempt to finish off the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. These are not their legacies but that of the nation," he said, amid thumping of benches by members from Congress and other Opposition parties.

Taking objection to Jaitley's reported remarks on whether an unelected House override the decision of the elected House, Brien said the Leader of the House makes statements outside the House "demeaning" the Rajya Sabha.

"Please do not indulge in cowboy Constitutionalism. This is cowboy Constitutionalism at the worst," he said, telling Jaitley that he should not make such remarks only because the numbers in the Rajya Sabha do not favour the BJP.

O'Brien slammed Jaitley for his remarks about Rajya Sabha citing the example of how the Constituent Assembly was indirectly elected by State Legislatures, saying that this was a precursor to the Rajya Sabha.

Jaitley, the Leader of the House, countered it saying that in a bicameral House of democracy, it's a debate going on all over the world and a discussion about the two Houses is "not cowboy Constitutionalism".

A bicameral legislature is one in which legislators are divided into two separate assemblies, chambers or houses.

Faulting the NDA government for bringing a number of ordinances, O'Brien said "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."

On the issue of secularism, he said the "line separating the fringe and the mainstream was fast blurring" and alleged that voices of divisiveness, which had gone silent for the last 10-12 years, were speaking up again.

He quoted from RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar's book on how non-Hindus should leave in the country and a purported remark of the co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch S Gurumurthy that Hindutva has more legitimacy than the Constitution.

He also quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee saying that the Constitution is the holy book of this great nation and said the time has now come to decide which of the two ideas of India is right.

There was also a minor sparring between O'Brien and some CPI(M) members, who objected to the Trinamool Congress MP's remarks that Left had not supported the Quit India movement in 1942.

O'Brien also quoted four lines from a book of Left veteran E M S Namboodiripad saying they committed a mistake in not participating in the Quit India.

Latching to CPI-M member Sitaram Yechury's remarks that the BJP which did not play any role in the freedom struggle was "worming" its way into the history of the independence movement, the TMC member said "at least the communists do not have the right to question it".

Objecting to the remarks, CPI(M) members TK Rangarajan and Tapan Sen said there were not many parties in Indian history which had the courage to own up mistakes and Brien should remember that his party was "not even born" when the freedom struggle took place.

"There are many brands of history, your brand of history, their brand of history," Sen said. 

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