How did the MPs from West Bengal perform ? Did they raise our issues in the Lok Sabha? How good are Dev & other celebrities in the Parliament?
It’s election time in Bengal and you’ve just voted to elect members of the Vidhan Sabha. So, keeping with the same democratic fervour, we thought of checking out the performances of the Members of Parliament from West Bengal that we elected to the Lok Sabha.
Now, the first criteria of judging the performance of a Member of Parliament (or for that matter any professional’s) is to take a peek at their attendance numbers. Sadly, Bengal’s average attendance of 66% is way below the national average of 83%. We sorted the attendance data and lo and behold – our beefy Khokha Babu Dev (representing Ghatal) leads the absentee list with a meagre 8% attendance in last two years. Yes, in TWO YEARS – June 2014 – April 2016! And somehow, our youngest and ablest MPs feature in this low attendance data even though the oldest MP from West Bengal, Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, aged 78 has 74% attendance.
The most regular MP, in the same period was Abhijit Mukherjee (representing Jangipur) with a massive 97% attendance.
The other metrics we looked at were –
1) Number of questions asked in sessions of the parliament (This is where an MP raises the concerns that his electorate might have regarding certain issues),
2) Participation in house debates (This is where an MP plays his role as a contributor to any issues, bills or discussions that are active during a session of parliament & exerts the influence of what his constituency thinks about that matter).
3) The number of Private Member bills proposed in Lok Sabha (This is a legislative bill, introduced by a private Member of Parliament, which is not part of a government’s planned legislation. This is how an MP can try pushing for reforms in his own constituency).
Again, not a brilliant performance by our MPs from West Bengal – 16 MPs, out of the total of 43, have NOT asked a single question. There are 28 MPs whose participation in house debates is almost negligible. And only 3 MPs have ever proposed a Private Member’s Bill.
However, this analysis has dug up some hidden gems as well. MPs like Mamtaz Sanghamita (Burdwan. Attendance – 88%, Questions – 24), Badruddoza Khan (Murshidabad. Attendance – 89%, Questions – 150), Aparupa Poddar (Arambagh. Attendance – 76%, Questions – 43) who are almost unknown (unlike Dev & Tapas Paul etc.) have assiduously attended every session of the Lok Sabha and participated in debates with gusto. Details of all their great work is available HERE.
Counterintuitively, the least represented constituencies belong to urban areas. A prime example is South Kolkata (Kolkata Dakshin constituency), whose elected MP Subrata Bakshi’s attendance is 28% and he is yet to raise even a single question on behalf of the people of South Kolkata. Also, the celebrity brigade comprising of Tapas Paul, Dev, Moon Moon Sen & Satabdi Roy have asked only 7 questions in total over the last two years.
Given that the average MP in India represents 2 million people, it’s astonishing that this job sees so much lethargy & absenteeism & that Bengal, once the citadel of political leadership in the nation is not even reaching the country averages in the Lok Sabha .
In case you want to take a look at the questions your MP raised or the debates she/he participated in, do check them all out at PRS Legislative Research.
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