The terms of three Congress MPs, representing Delhi in the Rajya Sabha, will end in January 2018, but, barring one, they did not ask even a single question in the House in their entire six-year tenure. Janardan Dwivedi, Karan Singh and Parvez Hashmi were all elected to the Rajya Sabha in January 2012, but Singh and Dwivedi did not ask even a single question about Delhi, be they pertaining to environment or internal security. Only Hashmi “performed well” and asked 543 questions on subjects ranging from cleanliness to law and order. This is according to the PRS Legislative Research, a research organisation which tracks the functioning of Parliament and the state Assemblies.
The PRS data also shows poor participation of these three MPs in debates in the Rajya Sabha. Hashmi participated in 52 debates in all, followed by Singh, who took part in 30 debates, while Dwivedi participated in only three debates.
However, as per PRS Legislative Research data, the attendance of these MPs in the Rajya Sabha is fairly impressive. At 99%, Dwivedi has the highest attendance, followed by Hashmi at 94%, while Singh has 85% attendance.
Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha, who were nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress, too fared poorly in terms of performance. As per PRS Legislative Research, they have less than 6% attendance and have not participated in even a single debate until August this year. Their terms too come to an end next year, in April. Manindra Nath Thakur, associate professor teaching political science in Jawaharlal Nehru University, told The Sunday Guardian, “The Rajya Sabha is not geographically represented; thus, the accountability of its members is less. Also, for members, election to the Rajya Sabha doesn’t imply any direct participation of citizens of the country and this has also given a kind of leeway to these members.”
Most members of the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by legislators using single transferable votes, while the President can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. “It is ideal for these MPs to raise questions pertaining to problems faced by the public across the country, but the performance of leaders like Karan Singh cannot be tested on the basis of how many questions he asked in Parliament. Singh has been heading many parliamentary committees and has also emerged as a symbol of the country’s cultural ambassador,” Thakur added.