Meet Rajasthan MLAs: One who spoke once in House in 4 years, another never asked questions
A former CM and three MLAs have spoken only twice since 2014 in assembly, while more than 100 have spoken less than 40 times.jaipur Updated: Mar 31, 2018 10:06 IST
One of the MLAs, elected to Rajasthan assembly in 2014, has spoken in the Vidhan Sabha only once in the last four years. It was to take oath as a legislator.
Four MLAs, including a former chief minister, have only twice spoken during the assembly proceedings in last four years. This is apart from the day they took oath.
Another MLA, who is also the state president of a national party, has a better record. He has spoken during seven proceedings in the House, but never asked any questions.
The data above may not entirely sum up the functioning of the 14th Assembly of Rajasthan, but it sure does tell a story of apathy on part of those whom the people of state have elected as their representatives. It also tells a lot about the seriousness on part of such people who are supposed to raise issues pertaining to public interest, question government on its decisions and policies, and help formulate laws for the betterment of the state and its people.
The very leaders who don’t tire of addressing election rallies and political speeches, were found mum in the assembly — a place where they are supposed to speak up for the greater good of the electorate.
As per the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the Rajasthan Assembly, a member is allowed to give notice of 40 starred and 60 unstarred questions during a budget session. It means an MLA can seek answers from the ruling government on 100 questions of public interest. Similarly, the member can ask 10 starred questions and 20 unstarred questions during any other session.
Starred questions are those to which a member desires an oral answer and in respect of which supplementary questions may be asked. The unstarred questions are those to which written replies shall be given to the member concerned. The rules state that not more than two starred questions by the same member shall be placed on the list of questions for oral answer on any one day.
Other than the assembly sessions, the legislator can also ask four questions every week.
A study of the statistics available on the Rajasthan assembly’s website reveal that the legislators have mostly preferred to remain silent in the House when burning issues were being debated.
The information shows that more than 100 elected representatives participated in less than 40 proceedings held during 136 sittings of 10 assembly sessions in last four years. A legislator’s participation is counted when he or she speaks up during the proceedings, debates, or discussions or rises to ask a question.
Now sample this
The Rajasthan assembly has only once heard the voice of Prem Singh Bajor, the BJP legislator from Neem Ka Thana constituency of Sikar district. That was on January 21, 2014, the day Bajor took oath as a member of 14th state assembly.
Kaman (Bharatpur district) MLA Jagat Singh and Ladnun (Nagour district) MLA Manohar Singh have spoken in assembly only twice — once to take oath and the other time when they actually participated in a House proceeding.
Former chief minister and AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, elected MLA from Sardapura constituency of Jodhpur, along with Bikaner (East) MLA Sidhi Kumari have spoken only twice — during three assembly proceedings — in all 10 sessions the current House assembled.
BJP state president Ashok Parnami participated in just seven proceedings on nine occasions. He is proud to have not raised any questions in the House. “It is like a Ram Rajya in the state. We didn’t find any reason to ask or question our government. Our representatives, responsible for defending the government or replying to the debates, were present in assembly,” Parnami said when reached for comments.
He further added that “raising unnecessary questions sometime creates doubts also.” He didn’t clarify what were “unnecessary questions”.
Parnami is not the only one who believes that the government is doing a great job. Several other MLAs from his party seem to carry the same view.
BJP legislators such as Vishvendra Singh (Deeg- Kumher), Gopichand Meena (Aspur), Surendra Singh Rathor (Kumbhalgarh), and Kunjilal (Bamanvas) have participated in less than 10 proceedings.
In the 200-member House, BJP has 162 members. Congress with 25 members is the single largest opposition party. The House also has seven independent MLAs, two each of Bahujan Samaj Party and National Unionist Zamindar Party, and one of National Peoples Party.
The most active participation in assembly proceedings was by either Independent MLAs or from those of the Opposition benches. Govind Singh Dotasara of Congress party appeared 264 times on record in 88 days of assembly proceedings. He is followed by Jogaram Patel, BJP MLA from Looni who has 238 references in 96 dates.
Hanuman Beniwal (Independent) of Khinvsar has 223 references on records followed by Manik Chand Surana, also Independent, from Loonkaransar. Surana participated in 190 proceedings on 84 dates in nine assembly sessions. BJP’s Kalulal Gurjar (Mandal assembly constituency), Prahlad Gunjal (Kota North), Phoolchand Bhinda (Viratnagar), and Congress’s Ramesh (Sapotara) and Sukhram Bishnoi (Sanchor) marked presence in more than 150 proceedings. BSP’s Puranmal Saini (Khatri seat) appeared in 117 proceedings.
The data has not captured proceedings of the chief minister and the council ministers since they reply to questions of members along with raising their own. Proceedings of the ruling party’s chief whip, Opposition chief whip parliamentary secretaries, Leader of Opposition, the Speaker, and the deputy Speaker are also not captured.
State Congress chief Sachin Pilot said that it was the duty of an MLA to participate in House proceedings. “It is not only the responsibility but also the duty of each elected public representative to actively participate in House and debate or discus, issues of public interest,” Pilot said.
He, however, gave a clean chit to senior leaders missing the assembly proceedings saying they “may be given a relaxation because they have to perform multiple duties — both in the party and in the House”.