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Time for absentee MPs to make their presence felt

The role of habitual absentees from the Lok Sabha has become crucial ahead of the July 22 trust vote, And in New Delhi, the BJP has more reason to worry about than the UPA, reports Vikas Pathak.

delhi Updated: Jul 18, 2008 01:40 IST

The role of habitual absentees from the Lok Sabha has become crucial ahead of the July 22 trust vote, And in New Delhi, the BJP has more reason to worry about than the UPA.

Fifty-five — over 10 per cent — of Lok Sabha MPs had single-digit attendance in this budget session, which had 28 sittings, PRS Legislative Research data show. 20 of them came fewer than 5 times.

Congress MP Govinda has attended the House only once in the last three sessions comprising 62 sittings, SAD’s Sukhbir Singh Badal 7 times, BJP’s Bharatpur MP Vishwendra Singh six times, Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Bannerjee 12 times, BJP’s Navjot Singh Sidhu 15 times, JMM’s Shibu Soren 14 times, BJP’s Vinod Khanna 16 times and National Conference’s Omar Abdullah 20 times.

BJP’s star MP Dharmendra attended the House thrice in the two sessions last year. RLD leader Ajit Singh, Independent MP and former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi and SP leader S. Bangarappa also have poor attendance.

Of the 28 MPs with single-digit attendance in each of the last three sessions — 11 are from the BJP. This includes the ailing Vajpayee and the jailed Babu Bhai Katara.

In contrast, Congress and the Left have only one consistent absentee each.

Data for 2004-2006 also show that while the CPM and RJD had a commendable attendance record, the BJP was right at the bottom along with BSP. The Left, it seems, is in bad company where attendance is concerned!