On purely rhetorical terms, Sonia Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav – supremos of the Indian National Congress and Samajwadi Party respectively are considered to be the faces of the opposition to BJP’s central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Their parties wage misinformation, fake news, and false campaigns against the BJP government. But that is what opposition leaders, and their organisations do around the world in today’s day and age. A respectable indicator of opposition leaders’ commitment to democracy, however, is their performance in the parliament. Interestingly, both Akhilesh Yadav and Sonia Gandhi are the worst-performing MPs from Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populated state.
Akhilesh Yadav is the worst performing MP from Uttar Pradesh, according to Organiser. Writing for the publication, Author Shantanu Gupta analysed data from the PRS Legislative Portal. The data reviewed revealed that both Akhilesh Yadav and Sonia Gandhi have a shameful record on all four crucial parliamentary parameters. In terms of attendance, the number of debates attended, the number of questions asked, and the number of private member bills submitted – the two high-value MPs have hardly any achievements or even decent statistics to account for.
Akhilesh Yadav, National President of Samajwadi Party with 34 per cent attendance has the lowest attendance among the MPs from Uttar Pradesh. Sonia Gandhi – interim President of the Congress party has a slightly better attendance of 39 per cent. Akhilesh Yadav and Sonia Gandhi represent the Azamgarh and Rae Bareli constituencies, respectively. The national average of attendance by MPs in parliament is 80 per cent, while the state average is 86 per cent. So, both Akhilesh and Sonia are horrendously lagging on the attendance front.
In terms of participation in parliamentary debates, Akhilesh Yadav has attended four, while Sonia Gandhi has attended only one. The national average of MPs attending parliamentary debates is 24.4, while the state average is 30.2. What this means is that both Akhilesh Yadav and Sonia Gandhi have hardly been seen on the floor of the parliament during debates. Debates are an important way of keeping the government in check. But the bravado of the two leaders seems to be prevalent only outside the parliament of India.
The rather shameful performance of both Akhilesh and Sonia in the Lok Sabha is a glowing testament of how the people of Azamgarh and Rae Bareli are not being represented well enough in parliament. Another essential role that the opposition must play in a democracy is that of asking questions of the government in the parliament. Both Sonia Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav, however, have asked zero questions in the 17th Lok Sabha. The national average for questions asked is 77, while the state average is 53.
For leaders who do not even ask questions, expecting them to present any private member bills is an astronomical proposition. Expectedly, both Yadav and Gandhi presented zero private member bills in the past two years.
Sonia Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav have not played the role of opposition leaders on the floor of the Lok Sabha. As heads of major political parties, they should have been leading by example in terms of parliamentary performance. Far from that, they seem to be content calling Indian vaccines those made by the ‘BJP’, while referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a ‘maut ka saudagar’.