Young MPs were high on attendance
New Delhi: As political parties look for youthful candidates in the coming elections to appeal to an estimated 100 million new voters, the records of younger MPs show that most of them took their parliamentary responsibilities seriously.
Sandeep Diskhit, the Congress MP from East Delhi and son of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, scored high among the young brigade. He attended parliament for a record 272 days out of 322, scoring 84 per cent.
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Another high scorer was the Congress' Sachin Pilot. He scored 82 per cent as he attended on 264 days, says the survey by PRS Legislative Research, an independent research initiative that aims to strengthen legislative debate.
The study was conducted till December 2008. The 14th Lok Sabha ended last month. The MPs studied were 45 years old or less. Communications and Information Technology Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia got 78 per cent, followed by Milind Murli Deora, who had 75 per cent attendance. Both belong to the Congress.
The youngest minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Jitin Prasada, who is the Minister of State for Steel, notched 72 per cent. Congress MP and general secretary Rahul Gandhi was not among those who topped the list but was quite regular. The scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family was present in parliament 203 days, scoring 63 per cent attendance.
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Although she joined parliament only last year after winning a by-election from Tura in Meghalaya, young Nationalist Congress Party MP Agatha K. Sangma scored 88 per cent. The daughter of former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma, she attended for 14 days out of the 18 days on which the Lok Sabha sat last year after her election.
The BJP's young leaders were not far behind. Manvendra Singh, the son of former foreign minister Jaswant Singh, attended the house for 243 days out of 322 days, scoring 75 per cent. In the same league was former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje's son Dushyant Singh. He was in the house for 203 days, scoring 63 per cent.
However, there were some MPs who went to the house on rare occasions. Among them was Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of the National Conference who scored 48 per cent, followed by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu. He was in parliament for just 96 days out of the 214 days, scoring 45 per cent. Sidhu was re-elected to the Lok Sabha after resigning, following his conviction in a road-rage case.
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Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's son Akhilesh Yadav also managed a mere 35 per cent as he was in the house for only 114 days. Priya Dutt of the Congress scored 46 per cent. Sukhbir Singh Badal of the Akali Dal was in the house for only 80 days, scoring a mere 25 per cent. He went on to become deputy chief minister of Punjab in this January.