As many as 92 of the current Lok Sabha's 545 members have attended less than 50 per cent of the sittings in the House. With the last Monsoon Session of the 15th Lok Sabha beginning Monday, this list includes Congress vice-president and would-be prime minister Rahul Gandhi, who has attended 135 of 314 sittings.
An analysis of the attendance of members, as per information on the Lok Sabha website, shows that Congress president Sonia Gandhi fares no better. While Sonia's record (48 per cent attendance) is marginally better than son Rahul's (43 per cent), their BJP counterparts L K Advani (82 per cent) and Rajnath Singh (80 per cent) are clearly far more serious about their House duties.
In fact, all the front-row leaders in the House do better than Sonia, with JD(U) president Sharad Yadav at 83 per cent attendance, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav at 86 per cent, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav at 79 per cent, the CPM's Basudeb Acharia at 90 per cent, BSP MP Dara Singh Chauhan at 93 per cent, the DMK's T R Baalu at 84 per cent and the JD(S)'s H D Deve Gowda at 66 per cent.
If one discounts the members exempted from the requirement of signing the attendance register — those in the Union Council of Ministers (49), the leader of Opposition, the deputy speaker — and those with short tenures because of various reasons (at least 12 of them), 29 Lok Sabha members in all attended less than 50 per cent of the 314 sittings the House has seen since it came into being in May 2009. Giving the Congress high command company in their low attendance are former Jharkhand chief ministers Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren, CWG scam accused Suresh Kalmadi and jailed leader YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, ex-Samajwadi Party member Jaya Prada and former cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu are also in this club.
Rahul's attendance falls much below that of young leaders from different political parties too. If the BJP's Varun Gandhi attended 65 per cent of the sittings, the NCP's Supriya Sule made it to 87 per cent of them, the Akali Dal's Harsimrat Kaur Badal to 78 per cent and the BJD's Kalikesh Deo to 73 per cent.
Even the Congress's own young turks have done better — Jyoti Mirdha (96 per cent attendance), Meenakshi Natarajan (86 per cent), Deepender Hooda (83 per cent).
There are 120 Lok Sabha MPs who attended 90 per cent or more of the sittings.
The 12 members whose attendance has been short because of reasons that can be explained include Bhajan Lal, Baliram Kashyap, Digvijay Singh (all deceased); Dimple Yadav, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, Abhijit Mukherjee, Dinesh Kashyap (all new members); and Virbhadra Singh, D V Sadananda Gowda, Akhilesh Yadav, Arjun Munda (now resigned from the House).