Can Call You Any Time, PM Narendra Modi Warns BJP Lawmakers Over Parliament Attendance

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed his displeasure at lack of minimum attendance in parliament stalling work and held out a warning that BJP lawmakers cannot afford to ignore. “I can call any of you anytime,” the Prime Minister said in a meeting, asking his partymen to make sure they do not miss a single day in parliament.

PM Modi reportedly told BJP lawmakers that attending parliament is their basic responsibility, and added wryly that he “can do a lot of things but cannot be present in the two Houses on their behalf”.

PM Modi ticked off parliamentarians after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar spoke about empty benches and the lack of quorum – or minimum attendance – in the Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha, in the ongoing budget session. When there aren’t enough members in the house, a quoram bell sounds an alert and proceedings are halted until more lawmakers arrive.

Dismayed, the Prime Minister said MPs should not have to be requested to attend parliament as it is their basic responsibility. As representatives of lakhs of people in their constituencies, it was their job to attend house proceedings, said PM Modi.

He added that it did not matter if members said they were in the Central Hall, where lawmakers often gather and chat informally. It is important for every member to be inside the house, PM Modi reportedly said.

Since he took charge in 2014, PM Modi has often asked members to be regular in parliament, but this is the first time that the advice came in the form of a reprimand, say party leaders.

The Prime Minister reportedly recalled the comments of a functionary of the RSS who had commented that the organisation had spread far and wide and its members had much work but did not appear to have time to attend the shakha or meeting. Likewise, he said, lawmakers seemed to have too much work to attend Parliament.