R'than BJP resorts to penalising absent legislators

Absenteeism of MLAs in the Assembly is a major problem facing both the ruling and opposition parties in Rajasthan in the ongoing budget session.

While Congress has issued a whip to ensure the presence of party MLAs to maintain quorum in the Assembly, the opposition BJP has found a novel means to ensure their presence in large numbers — impose penalty on those who are absent.

Many of the Assembly sessions have been very short. BJP accuses the government of staying absent from the Assembly to avoid the hostile opposition.

The ongoing budget session is perhaps the last opportunity for the opposition to grill the government on many issues before the state goes to the polls by the end of this year. The BJP has  asked its members to come prepared and ensure their active presence in the House, instead of the usual practice of disrupting the Assembly.

An important factor that added to the indifference of MLAs are the recent changes in the party’s state leadership. Recently, BJP had replaced former chief minister Vasundhara Raje with Gulab Chand Kataria as the opposition leader after she became the party president.

When Raje was in the post, they made it a point to make their presence felt in the Assembly fearing facing her wrath. After she resigned as opposition leader, BJP MLAs started bunking Assembly sessions. The party has now decided to impose a penalty on such MLAs to discourage absenteeism. It has decided to register their attendance twice a day.

It has decided to register their attendance twice a day. Those found absent after raising questions and call attention motion will have to pay Rs 500, which will go to the party fund. One day’s travel and dearness allowances of absent MLAs will also go to the party fund.

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