Not so glittering stars get thumbs down for performance in Parliament

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Hema Malini during election campaign with Narendra Modi. (PTI photo)
What is common to cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actor Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Rekha etc.? They are all celebrity MPs, and they all give a royal miss to the Parliament.

It's not only in this Lok Sabha session; it is a practice which is being followed from the past. The Citizens' Report on Governance and Development 2008-09 by civil society organisation National Social Watch (NSW) also gave thumbs down to the celebrity MPs.

Celebrity MPs are a rare sight in Parliament House

The Citizen's Report on Governance and Development, came up with a method to rate MPs purely on the basis of their performance in both the Houses of Parliament. The study rated MPs on four parameters, namely attendance, participation in debates, number of questions asked and the number of Private Members Bills proposed.

As per the report, "None of these (celebrity) MPs attended Parliament for more than 20 percent of its 34 sittings in 2007. The sittings were held over 64 days in two sessions. In the few days they showed up in the Lok Sabha, the Who's Who of India did not take part in the debates more than four times. In the Rajya Sabha, they were only a shade better with three members joining in the debates 10-18 times. None of them raised even one per cent of the almost 80,000 questions asked in both the houses of Parliament."

Not only in Parliament our MPs are also missing in action from the field after winning elections. A recent TOI report said that the angry residents of Mathura burned effigies and posters of newly elected BJP MP Hema Malini and protested for her absence from the constituency after she won in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Tara Chand Goswami, president of labour trade union was quoted as saying in TOI, "Everyone warned us that it will be a waste to make a Bollywood star a Lok Sabha MP but the people of Mathura showed faith in Hema. Smriti Irani is better than her. She is looking after a big ministry but still she takes out time to visit Amethi at least once a month."

Figures from the past

It's not only Hema Malini, there are many more in the queue who have not really fared well in this regard.

For example, former cricketer and BJP's former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu who impresses everyone with his banter and smart repartee asked only 0.38 percent of the questions and attended the House only for six per cent of the time.

As per a report by National Social Watch (NSW), "Bollywood star and Mumbai North MP Govinda did not attend the Lok Sabha at all during the period the NSW researched the proceedings in 2007.

Dharmendra, the Hindi movie hero of yesteryears, did not ask a single question or participate in any debate during the same. The attendance percentage of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Bikaner was a dismal 1.5."

After seeing such dismal figures, question which comes to one's mind is, whether these celebs should be given a chance to enter the political arena or not because even after they are given such important positions, they hardly pay any heed to the needs and demands of the common public and bring about a drastic change in the society.

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