With its potential to alter the political equations in the state for the Lok Sabha elections, the Rajya Sabha polls has attracted wide attention and much of the spotlight has been on high-profile candidates that parties have chosen to renominate.
This includes Kanimozhi of the DMK, D Raja of the CPI and V Maitreyan of the AIADMK.
As minor players, including the Congress hold the key in deciding the winner of the sixth seat, the current discourse is centred around them. But what has not yet received the required focus is the performance of these leaders in their present tenure.
Data available with Express for the period between June 2009 to May 2013, sources from PRS Legislative, a New-Delhi-based think tank that tracks performance of parliamentarians, reveal that Raja had been the most efficient as a parliamentarian, with his participation in proceedings being the most consistent.
While the average attendance of MPs from Tamil Nadu for the period was 69 per cent, Raja had an enviable rate of 92 per cent, the highest among the three who have been renominated by their respective parties. Maitreyan had 84 per cent whereas Kanimozhi, who spent a while in the Tihar prison in the 2G spectrum case, clocked 50 per cent.
Raja was also way ahead in terms of participation in debates and raising questions. In the given period, he had posed a whopping 747 queries compared to the state average of 304. Kanimozhi’s stood at 294 whereas Maitreyan had asked 113 questions in the four years.
However, being the floor leader of the AIADMK, Maitreyan participated in a fair number of debates in the Upper House by registering his party’s position on issues in 61 such debates. In comparison, Kanimozhi participated in a meager 21 debates. But even in this parameter, Raja had won the race hands down with participation in a stupendous 153 debates while the state average was just 45.2.
Among those who did not get renominated, A Elavarasan of AIADMK clocked an amazing 547 questions. He also had an attendance of 84 per cent. State Congress president B S Gnanadesikan, on the other hand, had a poor presence in the House with just attending 50 per cent of the sessions. His participation in debates was also way below state average at 21.
Commenting on the data, a former MP told Express that statistics on participation would hugely differ on the stature of a member within the particular party.
“If you are frontline leader, you will certainly be asked to participate in more debates. But attendance is something that is beyond stature. Members, who have attendance below 60 per cent, have a lot to think about,” he opined.