Audit of activities of Rajya Sabha reveals Opposition got time proportionate to its strength

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New Delhi: A first-ever audit of the activities of the Rajya Sabha have revealed that the Opposition got time proportionate to its strength in the House and regional parties were a bright spot in individual performance.

The audit assumes significance with many Opposition parties alleging they were denied enough time to speak in the House and members of one or two smaller parties had regularly sought more time from the Chair.

The time utilisation audit was done by the Rajya Sabha secretariat for only the first half of the budget session. It mapped the number of opportunities—questions, debates, short-duration debate, calling attention motion, etc—created in the House during the session.

The analysis showed the ruling BJP, the largest political outfit with 82 members in the Upper House, bagged 33% of 1,460 opportunities created in the House. In other words, BJP members used 481 chances to speak or otherwise participate in the Upper House. “BJP represents 34% of the House and got 33% of total opportunities. the Congress, which represents 19% of the House, got 24% share in participation,” according to a senior official.

The first half of the budget session, which ran from January 31 to February 11 before going into recess, showed that the Congress with 46 members got 345 opportunities. “Congress, TMC, AIADMK got proportionally higher opportunities,” said the official.

The audit was done after Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu wanted to know if the parties were getting equitable opportunities in the Council. The study report will be sent to all parties.

“The 10 recognised parties who have at least five members comprise a total of 190 MPs. These parties account for 80% of the House and bagged about 81% of the total opportunities created for the members,” said a senior official.

The remaining 20%-- small regional parties and mostly independent MPs—had 19% share of participation, indicating broad correspondence between the strength and share of opportunities.

Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party were the two parties that failed to match its performance vis-à-vis strength.

“During the first half of the budget session, 107 MPs participated in the Question Hour, 100 in the debates on the President’s speech and the General Budget. 76 Zero Hour and 33 Special Mentions were made, 24 MPs raised Private Members Bill. 1,120 Unstarred Questions of 118 members replied in writing. In total, there were 1,460 opportunities of participation,” said another official.

The analysis also revealed that among the top 30 performers, 18 MPs were from regional parties.

 

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