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Maharashtra MPs shine with volley of questions, bills

Saturday, 22 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Maharashtra MPs can pat themselves on the back for putting up an overall good show in the 15th Lok Sabha session that ended yesterday. The state has the second-highest number of MPs in the country after Uttar Pradesh -- a total of 48. According to data from Delhi-based not-for-profit PRS Legislative Research, the state's average attendance was 74% against the national average of 76%.

Incidentally, the best-performing MP in terms of attendance comes from the Mumbai South Central constituency, which includes Dharavi and Mahim. Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad of the Indian National Congress had an attendance of 98% and asked a total of 1016 questions.

The second-time MP felt that 14th Lok Sabha was more productive than the 15th and felt disruptions in the sessions lend a bad name to democracy. He highlighted the importance of "charcha" in the House. "It is important for discussions to take place, MPs should ask questions and talk about their problems instead of devising ways to disrupt the House," he said.

Gaikwad said the hallmark of the 15th Lok Sabha was the passing of the Food Security Bill, adding that an MP must work for the benefit of the entire nation and not just his or her state.

While Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central fared poorly with 58% attendance, the 47-year-old MP introduced three Private Member Bills, including one on Writers' and Artists' Social Security Bill. Dutt has also highlighted commuters' woes in Mumbai in Parliament.

The youngest of Mumbai's MPs, 37-year-old Milind Murli Deora, on the other hand, had 88% attendance and asked a total of 274 questions. Deora did not take any initiative to introduce a Private Members Bill but initiated a debate on the right to information. The second-time MP says his experience in both 14th and 15th Lok Sabha has been "very negative" because of the disruptions. "Though important Bills were passed over the past two sessions, the opposition came in the way of a lot of work that could have been carried out. There were disruptions from day one when we came in 2004," said the Indian National Congress MP.

Interestingly, BJP'S Hansraj Gangaram Ahir from the Chandrapur constituency in Maharashtra introduced the maximum number of Private Member Bill -- 31 in all. This is the highest in the country.

First-time MP Sanjay Dina Nath Patil from Mumbai North-East, who had 82% attendance, asked 455 questions. His primary contribution to his constituency was a partial resolution of the water scarcity problem. He feels that significant changes could not come out of the 15th Lok Sabha, due to the ongoing fracas between parties. "The Telangana Bill took up most of the time in the Parliament. It's unfortunate that we could not do much," said Patil.

Veteran Congress MP Gurudas Kamat from Mumbai North East constituency neither participated in any debates nor did he ask any questions. His attendance though was a good 88%, one percentage less that Sanjay Nirupam.

Nirupam, who is the MP from Mumbai North, pushed for the Deemed Conveyance Rules in Mumbai, that brought a lot of relief to people staying in about 60,000 societies in the city. Through the rules, a housing society will be given deemed conveyance within six months of submission of an application to the District Deputy Registrar, irrespective of the consent of the builder. The four-time MP, who had an attendance of 89% and asked 331 questions, feels that the 15th Lok Sabha will go down in the annals of history as the one that performed the least. "This is rather unfortunate. Ruling MPs have never disrupted the proceedings of the Parliament. One can have debates on the question hour without disrupting the Parliament," said Nirupam.

(With inputs from Amrita Madhukalya)


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