In Parliament, Members From Kashmir Show Concern For Uttar Pradesh, Eastern Coast

In Parliament, Members From Kashmir Show Concern For Uttar Pradesh, Eastern Coast

14 February 2014
Greater Kashmir
Umer Maqbool

Jammu: Members of Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir are far behind their counterparts in other states vis-à-vis performance in the House, a research has revealed. The latest data from PRS Legislative Research-a New Delhi-based research body which collates information about parliamentary activity-reveals that JK’s MPs whose term will come to end shortly have fared poorly with regard to asking questions and participating in debates in the Parliament. Eight MPs of the State, excluding the Union Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Farooq Abdullah, have asked just 753 questions and participated in 272 debates including those on legislations in the past five years. Curiously, Hyderabad MP Assadudin Owaisi, who has often talked on Kashmir in the Parliament, particularly during the 2010 unrest-has alone asked 1080 questions, which is almost 300 more than the queries submitted by all MPs of the State. The average questions asked by each MP of Maharashtra are 487. Moreover, none of the State MPs has submitted a Private Members Bill since their election in 2009. JK has 10 MP seats-6 Lok Sabha and 4 Rajya Sabha. Two MPs, Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, are part of the Union Cabinet. Mehboob Beg, one of the vocal leaders of National Conference, has just asked 26 questions during the last five years. His performance in debate participation is quite well-55 times. Beg was elected from south Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) segment in 2009. Sharifuddin Shariq of NC, representing Baramulla-Kupwara LS segment, has submitted 58 questions to different Central Ministers besides participating in 41 debates. Ghulam Hassan Khan, who was apparently backed by NC during 2009 LS polls from Ladakh, has asked 53 questions besides taking part in 16 debates. Congress MPs from Jammu have performed comparatively better than their Kashmir colleagues. Choudhary Lal Singh (MP from Doda-Udhampur Parliamentary segment) has asked 257 questions to different Ministers. He is also ahead of other MPs in debate participation–82 times. Madan Lal Sharma, MP from Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary segment, has submitted 79 questions apart from participating 20 times in debates. In Rajya Sabha, according to the data, NC’s GN Ratanpuri and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Prof Saifuddin Soz have been more active. Ratanpuri, who has raised issues ranging from hanging of Afzal Guru to Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), has asked 134 questions besides participating in 12 debates. Saifuddin Soz with 146 questions and 27 debates has performed quite well in comparison to other Kashmir-based MPs. NC’s Muhammad Shafi Uri has not asked a single question though. He has taken part in debates 19 times. Curiously, the information put in public domain by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha throws up interesting details pertaining to queries of the State’s MPs. In 2012, Sharifuddin Shariq had submitted a query pertaining to complaints received by the Government of India from Members of Parliament regarding malpractice and corruption by Mangalam Gas Agency in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. In 2010, Saifuddin Soz has asked a question to Union Finance Ministry about heaping of hazardous substances on the Eastern Coast by the Customs Department. When contacted, Dr Mehboob Beg said he has effectively and aggressively raised the political issues of Kashmir in the Parliament. “Despite the fact that NC has only three MPs, we tried our best to raise Kashmir issue and human rights violations in the forum,” he said, adding, “My performance has been quite better than PDP MPs of 2004-2009.” Beg said frequent disruptions of the Parliament by BJP also minimized their chances in the debate participation. GN Ratanpuri told Greater Kashmir that he has raised issues ranging from Afzal Guru’s hanging to revocation of AFSPA in the Parliament. “I have tried best to come up to the expectations of Kashmiris,” he said, adding, “My all questions pertained to Kashmir.” He claimed many of his speeches were expunged from the records of Parliament.