Promise v/s Performance: J&K MP’s in the Parliament

In a series of analytical articles, daily Greater Kashmir has assessed the performance of Members of Parliament (MP’s) from J&K state. This performance balance sheet brings forth the concern and zeal of the MP’s from the three regions of the state in raising the issues and taking part in the debates in the Parliament.

Excerpts:

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP):

With the parliamentary election round the corner, it is time to assess the performance of regional parties in the Parliament. We start the series with J&K PDP, which had won all the three parliamentary seats in the valley in 2014.

In its election manifesto for Lok Sabha elections, “Mandate for a Mission”, PDP had promised to “make the parliament a forum for representing the Kashmir issue at the national level.”

“Our mission in the parliament will be to drive, persuade and convince all the parties to formalise a basic Kashmir policy,” the manifesto read, and assured a common minimum program in this regard.

“PDP aspires to change the national mindset through its interventions in the parliament,” it said.

Five years down the road, what has been done? Far from any interventions, the three veterans of PDP elected by the people to the parliament have a very poor track record of attending and intervening in the House.

Muzaffar Hussain Baig, on whom J&K PDP pinned high hopes “to build parliament as a forum for dialogue on and development of J&K” has fared the worst. With 11 percent attendance, he rarely attended the parliament, and when he did, he remained a silent spectator hardly ever participating in debates or seeking information through questions. He participated in just three debates in his five-year-long stint in the parliament. He holds a unique dubious distinction of not asking a single starred question. An average parliamentarian raised 285 questions, while Baig asked 19.

Though Mehbooba Mufti and Tariq Karra resigned midway, their track record is not much better. With attendance of 35 per cent (for the period that they were members), which is less than half of the national average of attendance, they too hardly participated in any debates. Combining these three indicators of performance into an index, the average score of the three PDP MPs at 13.9 out of 100 is a historic record of poor performance.

 

National Conference (NC):

In the second part of our three-part series on the performance of regional parties in the parliament, we analyse the J&K National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who won the Srinagar seat which fell vacant after Tariq Hamid Karra resigned following his falling out with the Peoples Democratic Party.

A three-time veteran, Abdullah has a decent track record for the two years he has been in office as Member of Parliament. He has attended the House regularly, registering a 71 percent attendance. This is lower than the national average but much higher than that of PDP MPs. In fact, compared to Muzaffar Hussain Baig, it is almost seven times higher, and twice that of the PDP MP he replaced (Tariq Karra).

However, Abdullah has not been very participative in his this term. He has participated in two debates in two years. Compared to this, Muzaffar Hussain Baig has participated in three debates in his five-year-long stint in the parliament. Abdullah has fared worse than all the MPs in gathering information and holding ministers accountable for their performance. He has just asked 13 questions.

Even though the NC MP has fared much better than his PDP colleagues, he has fared very poorly compared to the Jammu MPs. Combining the three indicators of performance, attendance, participation in debates and seeking information as questions,  into an index, the score of Abdullah is 25.6 out of 100. This stands in very poor light when compared with a score of 75.8 out of 100 for the Jammu MPs. It is however twice as good as that of PDP MPs who scored just 13.9 out of 100.

 

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP):

 

In the concluding part of our series, we assess the performance of the members of parliament from Jammu. BJP had won both seats in Jammu and also Ladakh parliamentary seat in 2014. Both MPs Jugal Kishore and Thupstan Chhewang have taken their role very seriously by recording an above average attendance. While the national average is 80 per cent, both MPs have 90 per cent attendance. Compared to the PDP MPs from Kashmir, this is an outstanding record. Muzzaffar Hussain Baig’s attendance is only 11 per cent.

Jugal Kishore has participated in 89 debates in the parliament and asked 273 questions so far. This is not only much better than the national record, it shows how poorly the parliamentarians representing the valley have fared. The combined participation of the three PDP MPs in parliamentary debates is 16 which is one-fifth of participation done by Jugal Kishore.

Thupstan Chhewang has participated in 20 debates compared to the three by Muzzaffar Hussain Baig,  four by Tariq Karra and nine by Mehbooba Mufti. He also raised 31 questions which is much less than the national average of 285, but much more than the number of questions raised by his counterparts from Kashmir.

Combining the three indicators of performance, attendance, participation in debates and seeking information as questions,  into an index, the average score of the two Jammu MPs is a healthy 75.8 out of 100. This, when compared to the 13.9 out of 100 for PDP MPs, shows the failure of representation for the Valley.

Jitendra Singh being a minister cannot be assessed on the basis of these criteria. Hence he is excluded.

[Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir, Srinagar, Kashmir, January 21-23, 2019]

 

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