|Despite periodic disruptions during parliamentary proceedings, Tamil Nadu MPs asked more than 18,500 questions in both houses as on August 30 this year, according to data compiled by Delhi-based research organisation PRS Legislative covering the period from July 2009 to August 30, 2013. As the monsoon session is about to end, it is time for a review.
CPI Rajya Sabha MP D Raja is the clear leader asking a maximum of 1,525 questions followed by Congress Tirunelveli MP S S Ramasubbu with 977 queries, DMK MP from Kanyakumari Helen Davidson with 964 queries and her party colleague from Krishnagiri E G Sugavanam with 826 to their credit. Ramasubbu is the leading questioner among the Tamil Nadu MPs in the Lok Sabha. Other high performers are DMK Dharmapuri MP R Thamaraiselvan with 741 questions and Congress Kancheepuram MP P Vishwanathan with 601 queries.
"People think their MPs don't work but I can tell you that there is a lot of homework that has to be done to prepare starred questions, including taking inputs from experts in various fields. Sometimes there is no time to even eat properly during sessions as we have to go through several documents," D Raja told TOI.
Asked how he managed to pose so many questions, he said, "Call it luck as only 20 starred questions are selected on any given day in the House through a lot system. Or, it could be the method I use to ask so many questions, so that at least some of them would be taken up and responded to". MPs in the mainstream of politics have to constantly monitor what is emerging and ask questions accordingly, he added.
AIADMK MP V Maitreyan said he is not worried about disruption of question hour as primary answers to starred questions are tabled in Parliament even if the Q-hour is suspended. There are about 100 to 150 unstarred questions posed during a day's proceedings in Parliament which are responded to in writing later and hence not affected by any disruption of question hour, he said.
"However, more than question hour, it is during the zero hour that I raised important questions pertaining to Tamil Nadu such as whether the Prime Minister should attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled in Colombo later this year, attacks on fishermen and retrieval of Kachchateevu island from Sri Lanka thorough calling attention motions," he said.