Three out of the four outgoing MPs from Pune district — Suresh Kalmadi from Pune city, Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Babar from Maval and Shivaji Adhalrao-Patil from Shirur — had below average attendance in the 15th Lok Sabha. The three also had relatively lesser participation in Parliamentary debates, including those on legislation, and did not have even a single Private Members’ Bill to their credit.
Babar and Adhalrao-Patil, however, had asked over 1,000 questions during their tenure, which is more than the average 300 questions raised by other Lok Sabha members, Parliamentary data compiled by PRS Legislative Research has revealed.
Baramati MP Supriya Sule of NCP put up a good show on the stated indicators, though she trailed behind Babar and Adhalrao-Patil in asking questions.
Speaking to Newsline, Adhalrao-Patil justified his performance in the 15th Lok Sabha on crucial indicators. “The last Lok Sabha had effectively worked for only around 39 per cent of the total working hours. I was part of the Lok Sabha proceedings during this crucial period. I did not make it there when the Lower House witnessed deadlocks and logjams. Therefore, though my attendance figure seems relatively low, I had spent qualitative time,” said Adhalrao, who has 43 per cent attendance in the Lok Sabha, which is the lowest among the four MPs from Pune district.
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Adhalrao-Patil, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2004 too, said he raised several important questions in Parliament and took part in important debates. “I had asked the second highest number of questions (among four MPs from Pune district). I also took part in several important debates, including those on budget. Therefore, as an MP, I had done full justice to my constituency and people,” he said.
City MP Suresh Kalmadi has below average performance on all four indicators meant for evaluating a member’s performance in the Lok Sabha. While each MP asked 300 questions in the last Lok Sabha on an average, Kalmadi had raised only 206 questions. He, however, took part in 14-odd debates, including those on the modernisation of Lohegaon airport, Pune Metro, monorail and a railway terminal at Hadapsar.
Kalmadi, who is camping in Delhi ahead of the declaration of ticket for Pune Lok Sabha seat, could not be reached for his comment.
Maval MP Gajanan Babar said certain personal commitments, including his son’s marriage, resulted in his low attendance in Parliament. “Irrespective of my relatively low attendance, I have asked the highest number of questions (among four MPs from Pune district) and this crucial fact cannot be ignored. I have given voice to my voters in Parliament by raising their questions. In recognition of my performance on this crucial indicator, I along with Adhalrao-Patil have been bestowed with ‘Sansad Ratna’ (top performers of Indian Parliament) recently,” said Babar.
Sule, who had 86 per cent attendance in the last Lok Sabha, introduced as many as five Private Members’ Bill — The Compulsory Voting Bill, 2009, The Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill, 2010 (Insertion of new Section 4A), The Compulsory Registration of Marriages Bill, 2009, The Two Child Norm Bill, 2009 and The Girls (Free and Compulsory) Education Bill, 2010. All of these are pending.
Sule, who is in the fray from Baramati again, was not available for comment as she was busy campaigning.
Reacting to the performance statistics of Pune district MPs, Maj Gen (Retd) S C N Jatar of advocacy group Nagrik Chetna Manch said these important figures had no relevance for political parties. “Winnability is the sole crucial indicator political parties pay heed to while declaring candidature for any election. I do not think people of Pune district at large are happy with the overall performance of their respective MPs. The civic challenges and other public issues have remained by and large same over the last five years,” he said.