First year of first-time MPs: Debutants from region still learning the ropes | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Feb 22, 2017-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

First year of first-time MPs: Debutants from region still learning the ropes

chandigarh Updated: May 16, 2015 01:41 IST
Hindustan Times
Punjab

First-year-of-first-time-MPs

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections were a defining one for several reasons. Unprecedentedly, a non-Congress party was voted to power with a clear majority. The polls threw up the maiden single-party majority govt since 1984. Also, 315 MPs (58%) of the 543 new members are first-timers.

This is the highest number of first-time MPs — not all political greenhorns — in more than 30 years. Of the 34 LS seats in Punjab (13), Haryana (10), Jammu & Kashmir (6), Himachal Pradesh (4) and Chandigarh, 19 had debutants elected to the Lower House.

The ex-MLAs among them have found Parliament a world altogether different from the state assembly. As the 16th Lok Sabha completes one year today, Hindustan Times talks to the region’s debutant MPs to know their experience, and also scans their performance.

Ranjit Singh Brahmpura

Khadoor sahib

Shiromani Akali Dal

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

I have not made many friends in the Lok Sabha, but it’s a different experience altogether. Compared to state assemblies, Parliament is like a sea and the issues are really big. It gives you better exposure and perspective. I take pride in being there, but I enjoy working in the Punjab assembly.

What did you learn in the first year?

Rules and regulations of working in Lok Sabha are similar to that of state assemblies. I am part of important committees on public accounts, foreign affairs and home ministry and have been able to take a close look at issues concerning our country.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

One MP is in charge of nine assembly constituencies and can be more productive when he raises the issue of these segments and also of the state. MPs have access to high-ups and ministers and can take up issues related to their states


PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Number of questions (starred/unstarred) asked: Nil

National average: 69

Punjab average: 37

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 5

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Trying for an ROB (railway overbridge) over the railway crossing in Gehri town near Jandiala

By the way: Having no question against his name, he cites the luck of the draw: “Meri taan lottery nahin nikli.

Lok Sabha attendance: 79%

National average: 85%

Punjab average: 78%

Santokh Singh Choudhary

Jalandhar

Congress

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It has been a good experience. Though I have been active in state politics for the past many years, representing the people of my constituency in Parliament at the national level is altogether different in many respects.

What did you learn in the first year?

The biggest learning experience is that during Zero Hour and Question Hour sessions, only issues of utmost importance or of national concern are taken up and that too by draw of lots, unlike the assembly where issues are taken up at random during such sessions.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

MPs can be more productive in the House by being well-prepared and thorough while debating various issues and important bills. They can also make good use of the Parliament library for reference and a deep study of the subject before expressing their views on the same.

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 17

National average: 69

Punjab average: 37

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 15

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Raised the issue of the Jalandhar-based Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). Wanted it to be taken back from private management and handed over to the government.
By the way: A fitness enthusiast, he likes going to the gym.


LS attendance: 96%

Sadhu singh

Aam Aadmi party

Faridkot

What’s your experience in Lok Sabha?

Before I became MP, I was under the impression that every MP gets an opportunity to speak in the House and raise issues. But it works on a lottery system. Only 15-20 questions are taken up. The ruling party and traditional parties do not allow anyone else to speak.

What did you learn in the first year?

I realised that democratic values are not honoured. Truth is not the biggest value there. I am a teacher, for me honesty and sincerity are the highest goals. But there they say something, they stand for something else.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

Democratic values have to be upheld. Those who are sincere and have gone there with a mission should have their say too amid the hue and cry. Discussions and debates should go beyond mere posturing.

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 13

National average: 69

Punjab average: 37

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 3

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Keen to revive the pending project of getting a regional centre of Panjab University in Faridkot for girls
By the way: A professor of English since 1971, his passion is to teach English to rural poor students so that they can learn communication skills and are able to write.

National average: 85%

Punjab average: 78%

LS attendance : 70%

Dr Dharamvira gandhi

Patiala

Aam Aadmi Party


What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It has been a mixed experience. Parliament is very procedural. If an MP pitches 100 questions, even a single question of his may not come up because of the lottery system. I approached the LS speaker in her chamber for her attention on crucial issues and it helped me inside the House.

What did you learn in the first year?

The very first thing I learnt is to remain calm in spite of provocation from the opponents who unnecessarily raise communal slogans, besides provoking each other during discussions on crucial issues.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

They should do their homework. The agenda set by the Parliamentary Advisory Committee should be distributed in time and thoroughly studied by the members. Bullying by the ruling benches should be stopped.


PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 15

National average: 69

Punjab average: 37

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 31

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Worked for fencing of forest reserve areas in Patiala and Sangrur districts, funding arranged from the Centre.

By the way

Dr Gandhi is critical of the huge subsidy on food in the Lok Sabha canteen, but did not raise the issue in the House or on any other platform in Parliament.

MP's attendance: 70%

Bhagwant Mann

Aam Aadmi Party

Sangrur


What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

I attended the sessions very passionately. I’m among the four parliamentarians with the highest attendance. I raised minor and major issues related to Punjab — be it cancer, unemployment, or crime against women — debating every issue keenly.

What did you learn in the first year?

Debating is not always sufficient. As a representative of my people, I have learned to pursue important issues and matters with Union ministers to take them to their logical end.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

Most serious issues are limited to only long debates and discussions, but there is no output. The views of opposition MPs get restricted to mere debates. Their suggestions must be taken into consideration before passing bills.


PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 25

National average: 69

Punjab average: 37

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 52

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Gave grants from his MPLAD funds to government schools and a hospital

By the way

Comedian-lawmaker’s satirical remarks and repartee in the Lok Sabha have made him popular and go viral on the social media. He has been unsparing in his barbs directed at the central as well as Punjab governments. His yellow pagri (turban), modelled on the style of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, is quite an eye-catcher.


LS attendance: 79%

National average: 85%

Punjab average: 78%

Vijay sampla, Minister of State

Hoshiarpur

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It has been wonderful. The experience of working in the centre stage of the largest democracy of the world makes one more responsible, humble and aware of people’s issues related to not just one’s constituency, but the entire country.

What did you learn in the first year?

The best thing I learned in Parliament is that we have to see things in a positive perspective. Also, the language used in the House is very refined. We are told not to use negative words. We mingle with MPs of others parties and get to know about their ideas and ideology.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

Any MP can be more productive if he understands people’s needs. He should take issues related to his constituency more seriously, with empathy, and raise them in Parliament so that it helps in the formulation of a policy that percolates down to the lowest level.

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

(Between June 1 and Nov 9, 2014, before he became minister of state)

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 1

National average: 18

Punjab average: 13

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 4

Special initiative/project in the constituency

Got approved Mukerian-Talwara-Nangal train and is now pushing a proposal for connecting Hoshiarpur to all nearby national highways

By the way: Sampla has earned the reputation of being a minister who is more eager to respond to questions than MPs seeking information.


LS attendance : 97%

National average: 85%

Punjab average: 78%


Dharam Birbhiwani Mahendragarh

SONEPAT

Bharatiya Janata Party


What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

Though I have been an MLA and a state minister, the Parliament experience is totally different. One realises that it is a much bigger platform and issues are debated with a national perspective.

What did you learn in the first year?


I have learnt a lot. Since I am a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, I am learning its nuances. Besides, one gets to learn a lot from other parliamentarians.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

One should rise above petty party politics and think about the country. Sharing practical suggestions can lead to solutions.

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Number of questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 31

National average: 69

Haryana average: 73

Participation in debates: 4

Private bills moved: Nil


SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Got approval for the double railway line from Bhiwani to Rohtak; its electrification work would be done this year itself

BY THE WAY

Even as a Congress MLA, his fondness for saffron kurtas was often the butt of remarks from fellow party legislators

LS attendance : 90%

National average: 85%

Haryana average: 87%

Charanjeet Singh Rori

Sirsa

Indian National Lok Dal

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It was not that good. It has been a bad year for people, especially farmers, due to inflation, unseasonal rain, hailstorms, damage to crops. And there has been no help from the government.

What did you learn in the first year?

It’s quite different from the assembly experience, of which I have been a member once. There, the speaker (on the demand of treasury benches) names you and sends you out whenever it suits them. But it’s different in the Lok Sabha. Parliamentary work goes on despite opposition’s protests.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

It would be better if suggestions given by the opposition MPs during Zero Hour are acted upon. My party leader Dushyant Chautala and I keep highlighting our issues during Zero Hour, but there is no reaction and nothing is noted down or acted upon.

LS attendance: 90%

National average: 85%

Haryana average: 87%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 29

National average: 69

Haryana average: 73

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 3

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Has taken up demand for girls’ college and continuation of JBT institution with Union HRD minister Smriti Irani

By the way

Rori is among the Haryana MPs who get together once in a while for tea, snacks and a bit of chatter, forgetting their party differences.


Krishan Pal Gurjar, Minister of state

Faridabad

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It is quite different from what it was in the state assembly. There is a lot more freedom to discuss and suggest. There is a proper Zero Hour every day. Questions are not skirted and several supplementary questions are asked and replied to.

What did you learn in the first year?

Being a minister, I got the opportunity to see the functioning of both Houses — Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The kind of insight one gets on bills is an education. The quality of discussion puts the onus on the MPs to come well-prepared.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

The important thing for a new MP is to listen with interest. If one develops keen interest in an issue or topic, one can productively contribute during the discussions. Archived speeches of parliamentarians should be read to learn their approach.

LS attendance Not applicable to ministers

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: Not applicable to ministers

Private bills moved: Not applicable

Participation in debates: Not applicable

SPECIAL INITIATIVE IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Ball set rolling for Faridabad-Gurgaon metro link, construction of Faridabad-Noida bridge and five new national highway projects.

BY THE WAY

The soft-spoken social justice minister was always fond of khadi kurtas, but has developed a penchant for wearing navy-blue sleeveless jackets, following his leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in all probability.

Ramesh Kaushik

Sonepat

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?
It’s like a dream come true. I thought the working in the Lok Sabha would be like that of the state assembly, but it is totally different. I am enjoying being a part of the country’s biggest ‘panchayat’.

What did you learn in the first year?

I have learnt a lot. Going by my attendance sheet, you can see that I have never missed the sittings of the parliament. Though one year has passed, I am still at the learning stage and trying to know how a decision becomes a law in the country.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

Our Parliament is the biggest source of learning for us. Since I am unable to say what should be done, what I can suggest is that members should participate in discussions and pay attention when big leaders speak.

LS attendance 99%

National average: 85%

Haryana average: 87%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions asked(starred/unstarred): 37

National average: 69

Haryana average: 73

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 9

SPECIAL INITIATIVE IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Pushed for 8-laning of Delhi-Sonepat-Karnal bypass and set up a MPLAD scheme facilitation centre at Sonepat

BY THE WAY

A former minister in Haryana, the first-time MP has been a frequent traveller and has visited more than 20 countries. Kaushik has hopped parties as well; he started with the Haryana Vikas Party, then joined the Congress, and is now with the BJP. He likes to wear a Himachali topi occasionally.

Raj Kumar Saini

Kurukshetra

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It has been a matter of pride for me to represent my constituency in the Lok Sabha under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

What did you learn in the first year?

I have learnt to think with a national perspective. I am impressed with the PM’s viewpoint that issues of national interest must not be compromised or neglected for local issues.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

The members come prepared to the House as per their areas of interest. There are MPs who raise issues pertaining to human rights or environment. Others put their energy into raising issues of their constituencies.

LS attendance 99%

National average: 85%

Haryana average: 87%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Number of questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 10

National average: 69, Haryana average: 73

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 13


Special initiative/project in the constituency


No major project introduced in Kurukshetra on the initiative of local MP

By the way: A voluble critic of reservation for Jats, Saini has threatened to resign if Jats are accommodated in the OBC category.

Ashwini Kumar Chopra ‘Minna’

Karnal

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

Despite covering the Lok Sabha for decades as a journalist, I was only partially aware of the working of the House. Honestly speaking, I was not aware that questions for Question Hour are selected through draw of lots.

What did you learn in the first year?

I have learnt to make maximum use of Zero Hour where a member can speak in the House on any issue of his or her choice. Also, the multi-cultural workplace of the House is very motivating.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

With 315 debutant MPs in the House, experience is the key word for us. I have observed that the newcomers are doing good homework and are full of enthusiasm to discuss issues of public and national interest.

LS attendance 52%

National average: 85%

Haryana average: 87%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Number of questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 128

National average: 69

Haryana average: 73

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: Nil

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY: None

By the way

A permanent resident of New Delhi, he is rarely seen in Karnal. Considered a “political critic” of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the MP skips the CM’s public meetings.

Dushyant Chautala

Hisar

Indian National Lok Dal

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?
The first year was a real challenge. I had to learn everything from scratch. I had to learn the House protocol. For a first-timer, it is a formative year in which he learns the procedures. It depends on how fast he wants to learn.

What did you learn in the first year?

I learnt how to get public work done. I realised how important it is to raise your concerns and make them heard. Besides, I am developing command over procedures which even veteran MPs still fail to understand.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

The role should be to formulate ideas and polices to take the nation forward. It is difficult for a person to manage his constituency and be in Parliament. Therefore, MPs should be more pro-active in policy-making.

LS attendance: 89%

National average: 85%

Haryana average: 87%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 229

National average: 69

Haryana average: 73

Participation in debates: 58

Private bill moved: The High Court of Punjab and Haryana (Establishment of a permanent Bench at Gurgaon) Bill, 2015
(pending)

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Got approval for a dry port and Surya Nagar railway underbridge from the Centre.

BY THE WAY

Under his guidance, Indian National Students’ Organisation, the student wing of the Indian National Lok Dal, set a Guinness world record for “most people (10,450) to sign up as organ donors in eight hours” during a function organised at Sir Chhotu Ram stadium, Rohtak, on December 1, 2013.


Kirron Kher

Chandigarh

Bharatiya Janata Party

LS attendance 88%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions asked: 55

National average: 69

Private bill moved: The Good Samaritan (Protection from Civil and Criminal Liabilities) and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, 2014 (pending)

Participation in debates: 15

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Having adopted Sarangpur to be made a model village, she recently laid the foundation stone of a civil dispensary in the village. On the cards are a community centre, an anganwadi centre and a stadium. Her pet project of a Film City has so far not seen progress on the ground

BY THE WAY

While her party’s govt banned ‘India’s Daughter’, the documentary on the Delhi gangrape, her statement on it was praised and went viral as she underlined how the focus should be on the mindset of the accused and their lawyers, not on a ban. Good attendance in the Lok Sabha didn’t affect her TV appearances.


No interview: Remained unavailable over the past week despite calls, text messages, emails, and attempts via Twitter

Ramswaroop Sharma

Mandi

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

Good. I have been able to raise issues of public importance, be it roads of strategic importance or theconstruction of the rail line to link Bhanupalli with Leh. Though Himachal Pradesh has only four MPs, we have tried to raise voice of the people.

What did you learn in the first year?

I learnt a lot. The first session was an eye-opener for me. In this session, I did not raise any issue and tried to learn from my seniors. Now, I am able to raise issues of my state and constituency with confidence.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

MPs need to do groundwork before raising issues. I feel the need to do more research on my constituency as its topography is tough and the people’s problems are different.

LS attendance: 90%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 12

National average: 69

Himachal average: 55

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 6

Special initiative/project in the constituency

Persuaded the central government to speed up work on roads along the China border in Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts

By the way

Among the “giant-killers” in the LS polls, Sharma was asked by PM Narendra Modi, in his first meeting with newly-elected MPs in the Central Hall of Parliament, how he did it (defeat Congress stalwart Pratibha Singh). Also got a pat on the back from Modi.


Jugal Kishore Sharma

Jammu

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It was full of excitement and learning. As a first-time member, I paid full attention to debates so that I would learn before becoming an active participant.

What did you learn in the first year?

My understanding is that Lok Sabha sessions are classes where students (MPs) participate in many ways, listing their grievances and seeking answers from the teacher (government). It is a unique phenomenon in democracy.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

MPs have a very serious role in the House. They are the pillars of strength of their people. I have pledged to come up with positive ideas for the welfare of my people and the party.

LS attendance 76%

National average: 85%

J&K average: 49%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions asked (starred/unstarred): 35

National average: 69

J&K average: 19

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 22

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY

Set the ball rolling for the rail link from Jammu to Poonch

By the way

A former Sangh pracharak, he was a two-time MLA. He worked for some time for his would-be in-laws before marriage, managing their buses and tippers.

Dr Jitendra Singh


Minister of state Udhampur

Bharatiya Janata Party

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It is a unique experience for old as well as new members. It educates us about the government functioning. I am enjoying it under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

What did you learn in the first year?

There have been many issues which I came across during my first year in the Lok Sabha. As a minister, I am trying to work for the betterment of the people by addressing their concerns which were ignored by the previous regime.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

The role of MPs, both from the Opposition and the government, should always be productive and aimed at bringing in new and better Acts in Parliament. Healthy debates also help in passing resolutions for the nation’s betterment.

LS attendance: Not applicable to ministers

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: Not applicable to ministers

Private bills moved: Not applicable

Participation in debates: Not applicable

SPECIAL INITIATIVE/PROJECT IN THE CONSTITUENCY: Not available

By the way

A diabetologist and columnist, he has writtencritical articles about separatists. His brother is National Conference MLA Devender Rana, a close aide of former J&K CM Omar Abdullah

Muzaffar Hussain

Baigbaramulla

Peoples Democratic Party

LS attendance: 10%

What’s your experience in the Lok Sabha?

It was a mixed experience. I do not want to go into the details.

What did you learn in the first year?

I had to unlearn several things. I would say I have learnt nothing so far.

What will make an MP’s role in the House more productive?

First, we have to see to it that the best leaders become members of Parliament. A mandate should come through a secret ballot within the parties and should be given to the best.

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions asked: 5

National average: 69

J&K average: 19

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation indebates: 1

By the way

Holding a master’s degree from Harvard Law School, Baig remained conspicuous by his absence from the Lok Sabha on most days. A member of the Committee on Violation of Protocol Norms and Contemptuous Behaviour of Govt Officers, he awaits ministerial berth at the Centre, despite lobbying hard.

No interview: Remained unavailable despite attempts to contact him.

Tariq Hameed Karra, Srinagar

Peoples Democratic Party

LS attendance: 36%

PERFORMANCE IN LOK SABHA

Questions (starred/unstarred) asked: 20

National average: 69

J&K average: 19

Private bills moved: Nil

Participation in debates: 4

By the way

Karra belongs to one of the top business families in the Kashmir valley and was the richest candidate in J&K in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. His current worth is saidto be over Rs 100 crore.

No interview: Karra remained unavailable despite repeated attempts to contact him.

Compiled by: Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Chitleen K Sethi, Manpreet Randhawa, Prabhjit singh, Vishal Rambani, Hitender Rao, Rajesh Moudgil, vishal joshi, Ishtiyaq Sibtian Joo, Neeraj Mohan, Gaurav Bisht, vikram sharma, Peerzada Ashiq, Toufiq Rashid and Aarish Chhabra. DATA SOURCE: PRS LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH

Tata Tea’s Anthem of apathy
Partnered feature