Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good Parliamentarians largely remain unsung

Waxing eloquent in a heated television debate or appearing on the national news network is one thing, and being a good Parliamentarian is another. Unfortunately, most people do not even know the names of the best performing members of Parliament (MPs), some of whom don't even get re-elected at times.

This "disconnect between the political and institutional process" has been highlighted by Social Watch, a civil society watchdog. It shortlisted 10 top MPs in the 14{+t}{+h} Lok Sabha, measuring them on four parameters -- attendance, participation in debates, number of questions asked and number of private members' Bills proposed. Over 100 MPs were given points and the top 25 were shortlisted.

Contrary to popular perception, eight of the top 10 MPs were from smaller parties. In fact, the Samajwadi Party (SP) emerged as the best performing one with three of its MPs among the top 10, followed by one each from the CPI, CPI(M), Republican Party, Shiv Sena and Biju Janata Dal.

Both the national parties, Congress and BJP, despite there huge numbers in the House, had one MP each in the top 10.

Incidentally, only four of the top 10 performers in the 14{+t}{+h} Lok Sabha got re-elected to the 15th Lok Sabha. These are Basudeb Acharia of CPI(M), H G Ahir of BJP, Anandrao Adsul of Shiv Sena and Shailendra Kumar of SP.

In a policy dialogue on "People, Parliament and Performance", held here recently, Social Watch said the idea behind the survey was to emphasise that "serious business indeed gets done when peace prevails in the Houses, and sometimes even amidst pandemonium". It said the survey will soon be made an annual exercise and the Rajya Sabha MPs will also be tracked.

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