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National parties blamed for MPs� silence in Parliament

By R Dutta choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 23 � The members of Parliament from Assam often face strong criticism for their failure to raise issues concerning the people of the State forcefully on the floor of the Parliament. There have been instances when some members did not participate in a single debate during their entire tenure in the Parliament. Interestingly, language barrier should not be a problem for the MPs as now they can speak in any of the recognised languages of the country by giving prior notice.

The Assam Tribune tried to get the views of the major political parties on the issue. The national parties tried to cover up the failure of their members by claiming that the time available for them was very limited to participate in the debates, while the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) claimed that their members, despite not having numbers, managed to raise issues concerning Assam forcefully in the Parliament.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Apurba Kumar Bhattacharya said that not all the MPs from Assam were silent in Parliament, and the time allotted for national parties was limited and all the members did not get enough scope to participate in the debates. At the same time, he said that this time the party had taken care to select candidates who would be able to speak forcefully in the Parliament and the situation would soon change.

The State unit general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Santanu Bharali also echoed similar feelings and said that the members from Assam did not get adequate time to participate in the debates as time for all the parties were allotted specifically. He also admitted that it would be difficult to get orators like Hem Baruah and Dinesh Goswami, who managed to make their presence felt strongly in the Parliament.

Bharali, however, said that all the members of the BJP managed to raise issues concerning Assam in the Parliament. He revealed that all the MPs had strongly opposed the Government�s move to pass the Bill for transferring Assam�s land to Bangladesh. At the same time, he said that some of the issues can be settled in the State Assembly and there is no need for raising such issues in the Parliament.

On the other hand, the AGP has strongly criticised the Congress and BJP MPs for their failure to raise issues concerning Assam in the Parliament. AGP working president Atul Bora said that only Rajya Sabha members from the AGP, Birendra Prasad Baishya and Kumar Deepak Das played

a forceful role in the Parliament in the last five years and they even prevented the Government from tabling the Bill for transferring Assam�s land to Bangladesh. He asserted that only the MPs of the regional parties would be able to raise the issues of the State in the Parliament, while the members of the national parties would always remain silent.

The general secretary of the AIUDF, Aminul Islam said that the party�s MP Badruddin Ajmal managed to raise a number of issues in the Parliament and his participation in the debates was much more than most of the MPs of the State. He pointed out that several Congress MPs, including Dip Gogoi, brother of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, was totally silent during the last five years. He expressed the view that �some parties may not have selected proper candidates and the parties should be held responsible for the silence of their MPs. The parties should take care to ensure that only persons who can raise issues in the Parliament are selected.�

Islam pointed out that AGP member Birendra Prasad Baishya also managed to play a bold role in the Parliament. He said that there is a provision that the MPs from Assam can speak in Assamese if they want to and language barrier should not be a problem.

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