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Do Sonia and Rahul take Parliament seriously? Not really

They may have been elected to represent their constituencies in Parliament, but both Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi it turns out aren't always present to ensure the passage of legislation.

No time for Parliament? PTI

No time for Parliament? PTI

An analysis of the attendance of the top two Congress leaders compared with those of the BJP MPs shows that the latter take Parliament way more seriously.

According to data provided by PRS legislative, Congress President Sonia Gandhi's attendance in Parliament during the 15th Lok Sabha has been just 47 percent, while her counterpart, BJP President Rajnath Singh has 78 percent attendance, above the national average of 77 percent.

A report in the Indian Express states that all the front-row leaders from other parties did much better than Congress president and her son. Octogenarian and veteran BJP leader LK Advani has 82 percent attendance, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav attended 83 percent, RJD's Lalu Prasad 79 percent and Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was for 86 percent of Parliament proceedings.

Gandhi's highest attendance was during the March 2009 budget session (77 percent). However, while she has not been in the best of health, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has just chosen to stay away from proceedings.

Rahul's performance, was just 43 percent. His best record - the Budget session of May 2009 with 77 percent attendance, incidentally the same as his mother.

Among young turks in Parliament, Rahul falls well below even his own aides - Meenakshi Natarajan (85 percent), Milind Deora (88 percent) and Deepender Hooda (82 percent).

BJP General Secretary and Rahul's cousin Varun Gandhi's performance is better at 65 percent.

But the two Congress leaders aren't the only one's missing Parliament proceedings. The Indian Express report says that of the 545 Lok Sabha members, 92 of them have attended less than half of Parliament's sitting, while 120 members have attendance of over 90 percent.

However, while attendance in Parliament won't worry the two top Congress leaders too much, it is another statistic that will trouble her more.

According to a detailed Indian Express article, despite a host of government schemes, the Congress president's constituency of Rae Bareli ranks among the 10 poorest districts of Uttar Pradesh. Despite numerous projects being introduced by the Congress led government, the constituency still has 57.7 percent of its rural population below the poverty line.

The article points out that despite projects that would invite an investment of a whopping Rs 6,939 crore in the constituency, almost none of them are completed or completely operational. 

Though the rate of announcement of projects increased after the Samajwadi Party came to power, few of these projects have benefited those who live in the constituency.

The incomplete projects include railway projects, an NIFT, footwear design institute, a petroleum technology institute, a university for aviation, a university for women, and even a highway linking the district to Lucknow.

Even in Rahul Gandhi's constituency of Amethi, there is little progress to show for its high-profile MP representing them in Parliament.

An Ibnlive article points also to how even personal contact with Rahul Gandhi hasn't helped some in Amethi.

In Semra village, Shivkumari at whose house Rahul and former British foreign secretary David Miliband spent a night during a much publicised even in January 2009 says it didn't change her life in any way.

With an NREGA card that doesn't get her work, two of her five children dropped out of school due to lack of funds for their education.

"He (Rahul) promised he'll take care of my children's education but I got nothing," she was quoted as saying.

While they may have been elected to represent their constituencies in Parliament, the attendance report of the Congress president and Vice President shows they have instead chosen to lay their faith in generous projects to ensure voters' loyalty to them.

But given a possibly waning of fondness for the Congress' top leaders --the party lost 8 of 10 seats in the Amethia and Rae Bareli during the recent state elections -- whether they will be able garner votes purely on the basis of incomplete promises remains to be seen.


Updated Date: Aug 05, 2013 14:48 PM

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