- Unhappy over absenteeism, PM Modi decided to get strict with BJP MPs.
- "I can call any of you anytime," he told them, a member said.
- As representatives, it is their job to attend the House proceedings, the PM said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed unhappiness on Tuesday over a lack of quorum, which often causes delays in Parliament’s functioning. He asked BJP members to ensure their presence, saying he can call any of them anytime.
Speaking at a BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, the PM stressed that attending Parliament is their basic responsibility and added wryly that he can do a lot of things but cannot be present in the Houses on their behalf.
Modi seems to have decided to speak to the parliamentarians after parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar spoke about incidents of lack of quorum in both the Houses, including Monday. This is believed to have prompted the Prime Minister to say it should not be about requesting MPs to be present as it is their basic responsibility.
BJP members said he told them that it did not matter to him if they were in the Central Hall, a place to host joint sittings of Parliament where MPs often meet for informal conversation, as what is important is that they should be inside the Houses.
"I can call any of you anytime," he told them, a member said, adding that Modi sounded unhappy over absenteeism.
Modi had in the past also asked members to ensure their presence but this is the first time he has spoken about in such detail and talked tough.
He recalled remarks of an RSS functionary that though the Hindutva organisation had spread far and wide, and its members had a lot of work to do but did not have time to attend shakha.
Likewise, MPs too seemed to have so much of work that they do not have time to attend Parliament, which should not be the case, he said. As representatives of lakhs of people of their constituency, it is their job to attend the House proceedings, he said.
In his briefing, Kumar said Modi also laid out the "road map" for the party as it gears up to celebrate its foundation day on April 6 and Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar's birth anniversary on April 14.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:57 PM IST