Lok Sabha Election 2019: Gauhati's sitting MP Bijoya Chakravarty's Report Card shows "Poor Performance"
Gauhati MP, BJP’s Bijoya Chakravarty’s Low Performance in Lok Sabha
Sitting Member of Parliament (MP) from Gauhati constituency, Bijoya Chakravarty, is lagging behind in terms of participating in debates and raising questions in the parliament. The data published by the PRS Legislative Research, commonly known as PRS, revealed that Chakravarty's performance in the parliament is way below the national average.
In terms of the total number of parliamentary debates attended, the national average has been calculated at 67.1 debates per MP, state average is calculated at 46.6 debates per MP, but Chakravarty has been present at 34 debates only.
Among the number of questions raised by an MP, Chakravarty lags way behind the national as well as state average. While the national average is at a whopping 293 questions, the state average is just 164 and Chakravarty stands way behind at 38 questions.
Further, Chakravarty has not raised a single Private Members' Bill in her tenure.
Chakravarty is a seasoned politician who had worked with the Janata Party and the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) before she decided to don the saffron colour. While in the AGP, she had served in the Rajya Sabha from 1986 to 1992.
After the stint in the Upper House, she joined the BJP and was made a union minister in 1999 when the National Democratic Alliance came to power. From 1999 to 2004, she served as an MP for the second time as a Lok Sabha member representing Gauhati. In 2004, the BJP decided to field singer Bhupen Hazarika in her place, causing widespread protests from BJP party workers. Hazarika lost the elections. The BJP then re-nominated Chakravarty in the 2009 Lok Sabha election from the Gauhati seat. Subsequently, she again won the seat in 2009 and 2014 representing the BJP.
Chakravarty fared well during her term from 2009-14. Surprisingly, she recorded 84% attendance in the tenure, while the national average was only 76%. She also attended 37 debates (national average being 37.9) and raised 4 Private Members' Bill. The only area she lagged behind in was in raising questions. While the national average was 300 questions per MP, Chakravarty raised only 53.
No questions raised by Chakravarty in Parliament in two years
The Gauhati MP has failed to raise any questions in the parliament the past two years, shows the data published by the PRS Legislative Research. The last question raised by Chakravarty was way back in March 2017 pertaining to the enrolment of Aadhaar in Assam.
To find a holistic solution to the flash flood and erosion problem in Guwahati – the most prestigious Lok Sabha seat in the northeast – was one of the major promises on which 79 year-old-BJP MP, Bijoya Chakravarty, won the 16th Lok Sabha election in 2014.
During a public meeting while campaigning for the Lok Sabha election in the outskirts of the city, Chakravarty had said that besides flood and erosion problems, she will focus on solving the crisis of water supply and illegal migrants’ influx in her constituency.
Staying true to her words, Chakravarty had earlier participated in various debates focussing on the problems facing Assam, including the need to provide assistance to flood affected people of Assam, strict vigilance of NRC work in Assam, hazards in Assam due to environment degradation, issues related to the contamination of water of Brahmaputra River from the substance coming from China, issue of elephant killing in Assam, and crime against northeastern students in Delhi to name a few.
Further, she had raised questions regarding enrolment of Aadhaar in Assam, illegal migration into Assam, deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, infiltration along borders, illegal activities along the borders, bridge over the Brahmaputra, Brahmaputra river rejuvenation authority, Guwahati Railway Station, etc.
Dip in attendance
It is not just the Guwahati residents who missed their three-term Member of Parliament (MP) from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Bijoya Chakravarty, but the Lok Sabha sessions of the Indian Parliament, apparently did too.
Chakravarty, who was elected with a landslide majority in the Lok Sabha election in 2014, has hardly been seen since then except at a few party rallies and functions. A steady decline can be observed in her attendance in the parliament too. Chakravarty has a 69 per cent attendance in the Lok Sabha sessions over the years since May 2014 while the national average is 80 per cent.
Chakravarty, who started her tenure with 100% attendance in the first session, slipped to 89% and 91% during the Budget Session and Winter Session 2014 respectively. Her attendance went down further in the next Budget Session where she recorded 69% attendance only. Since then, she has recorded attendance as low as 50% during Budget Session 2016 Part 1, 52% in Budget Session 2017 and 31% in Budget Session 2018.
In the last Parliamentary session – Winter Session 2018 - she recorded a mere 56% attendance.
It may be mentioned that among the 15 MPs (8 from Bhartiya Janata Party, 3 from Indian National Congress and All India Democratic Front each and 1 Independent candidate) representing the state of Assam, Dibrugarh MP Rameswar Teli has recorded the highest attendance at 92% with Karimganj MP Radheshyam Biswas right behind at 89%. Among the lowest attendees is Barpeta MP Siraj Uddin Ajmal with 34% attendance.
Gauhati constituency express discontent over MP’s performance
In 2014, Bijoya Chakravarty contested against 18 candidates who were in the fray including former Assam cabinet minister, Akon Bora’s son, Manash Bora, and Asom Gana Parishad’s bigwig Birendra Prasad Baishya and won by the second highest margin of 3,15,784 votes that year. She received a total of 7,64,985 votes (50.59%) out of total of 15,11,729 votes (74% turnout) in the election.
Yet, there are mixed reactions among the people of her constituency on the four years of her tenure. While many have expressed concern regarding the perennial issues of the city that over the years had not only been resolved but instead aggravated, several also opined that the city needs a more proactive leader to represent them in the parliament.
“Chakravarty has been an MP of this constituency for too long and the people of the city have almost forgotten how it could have grown under a proactive leader. Every major construction, every major project in the city is stalled. Being an MP, it is her job to look into the various national projects that are going on here and ensure their speedy completion,” Bokul Chandra Das, a retired employee in Guwahati said.
In the same vein, another resident of the city expressed, “We have hardly seen our MP in the constituency during the past few years. Also, she has a responsibility towards the people of her constituency. She should have raised more questions and issues about the problems in Assam and also have initiated a lot of developmental work which continues to be lacking in the city.”
Ready to contest from Guwahati: Sitting MP Bijoya Chakravarty
Amidst speculations over Assam finance minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, to be given the ticket to contest from the Gauhati parliamentary constituency in the ensuing general election, the sitting MP from the constituency Bijoya Chakravarty has said that she is ready to contest from the constituency if the former contests from another seat.
The three-time Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Guwahati asserted that she is ready to contest from the constituency if BJP strongman and NEDA Convenor Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma contests from another seat.
Chakravarty said that the popularity of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma will easily make him win the seat from Gauhati LS constituency. But, if Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma decides to contest from another constituency, she is interested to contest from the city as there is no anti-incumbency wave against her.
“Himanta Biswa Sarma will easily win the seat as he has popularity in the constituency. But, if he contests from another constituency, I am interested to contest from Guwahati as there is no anti-incumbency wave against me,” Chakravarty said on March 13th, 2019.
Chakravarty further welcomed the alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and assured that the saffron party will win 12 seats from the state.