One of highlights of the Trinamool Congress’ list of candidates contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha election is the number of film actors.
Not only did chairperson Mamata Banerjee re-nominate actors such as Dipak Adhikari (Dev), Sreemati Dev Varma (Moon Moon Sen) and Satabdi Roy but also fielded new faces, Mimi Chakraborty and Nushrat Jahan.
However, an analysis of the performance of the star MPs in the previous Lok Sabha reveals that their record for attendance, asking questions and participation in debates remained quite poor.
Mr. Adhikari, 36, who was elected from the Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 and will contest from the same seat again, has one of the lowest attendance records among all elected MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha.
According to PRS Legislative Research which tracks the functioning of MPs, Mr. Adhikari had only an 11% attendance.
The actor-turned-politician shared the figures of lowest attendance with Muzaffar Hussain Baig of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party.
According to the PRS, the national average attendance for Lok Sabha MPs was 80% where the average for the MPs of West Bengal was 65%.
Five years, three questions
Mr. Adhikari also did not fare well in participation in debates.
In his five-year term, Mr. Adhikari participated in two debates and asked three questions. The national average of questions asked is 293 and the average of questions asked by State MPs is 94. In debates, the national average stands at 67.1 and the State’s average 34.4.
Other star MPs fared better in attendance but their record was the same as Mr. Adhikari in debates and asking questions.
Ms. Sen, whose attendance was higher than the State’s average at 69%, participated in one debate and did not ask any questions. She will contest from the Asansol Lok Sabha seat.
Satabdi Roy, the Birbhum MP who is seeking re-election on Trinamool ticket, had 74% attendance, participated in two debates and asked two questions.
Actors Tapas Paul and Sandhya Roy, who have been dropped from the list of Trinamool nominees, also did not fare better. Mr. Paul’s attendance was 47%; he participated in eight debates and asked seven questions. Ms. Roy representing Medinipur recorded an attendance of 53% and participated in three debates. She did not ask any questions.
The attendance of MPs from West Bengal is relatively lower than the national average. Another high-profile MP who remained absent in most sittings was Ms. Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Mr. Banerjee, representing Diamond Harbour, recorded 28% attendance, asked 48 questions and participated in three debates.