Mumbai Blasts - City Leaders Inactive in Parliament - Call for Resignation sign now

2006 Mumbai Train Bombings - Inactivity of representatives from Mumbai in Lok Sabha - Call for their Resignation

It has been a month since the deadly bombings in local trains of Mumbai. However, being the financial capital is not sufficient for getting attention of law makers as the people's representatives did not show up or did not even bother to bring up the subject and plight of Mumbai when Lok Sabha met but instead focused on other subjects (namely, Jaswant Singh's book or Pathak report leakage). It is a shame that the City which isfinacial hub, biggest contributer to tax revenue does not get any kind of attention by the law makers.

It is time to call for their resignation.

Following is article from Mid-day:

City's leaders choose silence
By: Vitusha Oberoi
August 6, 2006

A file photo of the 7/11 blasts
Mumbais six Lok Sabha MPs (5 Congress and 1 Shiv Sena) failed to speak for the city in Parliament last week. In a Parliamentary debate on the citys serial blasts of July 11, 20 politicians spoke in debate spanning six hours and six minutes.

None of these, however, was an elected representative of Mumbai. And since those who spoke werent from Mumbai, the debate ranged from communalism to secularism.

The debate was quite futile. Nobody from Mumbai spoke. I wish I had spoken because it was sad to see the debate go the way it did, says Priya Dutt, Congress MP from Mumbai North-West. It was more of a blame game. When you are debating on something like terrorism, everyone should have been united.

That did not happen. The whole thing revolved around the escalating terrorism in the country when we should have discussed what we should do next, she said. She admitted that she had not volunteered to participate in the discussion last week.

Now I wish I had because then I could have put my point of view across, she said.

Abhi kya karen. It was the partys decision to field senior leaders, says Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, MP from Mumbai North-Central. He said Mumbai MPs should have been given an opportunity to speak.

Gaikwad says though he failed to get a chance in the main debate, he has been raising the issue of the blasts in Parliament through other means, such as Parliamentary questions.

I recently asked a starred question on the blasts which would have been answered orally in the house. However, in the lottery, it became unstarred and its written reply was circulated, Gaikwad said.

Mohan Rawale, Shiv Senas Mumbai South Central MP, is also acutely aware that he needs to raise the issue in Parliament.

I wanted to speak but we decided to field our leader Anand Geete. I would not have opposed my leader, Rawale said, adding that though Geete was not elected from Mumbai, he lived in the city most of the time and was therefore entitled to speak on the blasts. Rawale is confident that one day during this session, he will have his say on the blasts.

The Parliament session is not yet over. You wait and see how I will raise the issue of the blasts in the House. I gave notice on it a couple of days ago also but it was not accepted, Rawale said.

Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Gurudas Kamat, who represents Mumbai North-East in the Lok Sabha, said the peculiar thing about the discussion was that it was decided only the group leaders of all political parties would speak.

This was a decision of the business advisory committee where all political parties are represented.

The Congress therefore fielded Parliamentary Affairs Minister and chief whip Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi as the lead speaker. We (the Mumbai MPs) sat through the entire debate, Kamat said. He said party leaders decided strategies keeping in mind the time allowed for a discussion.

I did not take part, said Milind Deora, The debate was more national than local. It was on POTA, not so much on Mumbai or Kashmir blasts. Also I feel it is more effective to reach out to issues related to infrastructure such as railways and how they are going to improve rail security.

However, he said he has submitted three questions to the ministries of Urban Development, Railways and Home regarding Mumbai.

Interestingly, actor-politician Govinda, whose Mumbai North constituency
suffered in the blasts too, was not present during the debate. I was in a shooting, said Govinda when Sunday Mid DAY wanted to find out whether he participated in the exercise. I am still in a shooting, he said.

How it works

Once an adjournment motion is admitted, the speaker allots time to different political parties in proportion to their strength in the House.

The party leaders then choose their speakers. In case of the adjournment motion on the Mumbai blasts, the Congress, which has five of the six MPs from Mumbai, chose not to field any one of them. Instead, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi and party whip Madhusudan Mistry were selected to speak.

It was a very important motion and party leaders did not want the debate to go to a lower level. All the parties fielded their leaders in the debate, says Mistry. He said the Mumbai MPs were not to be blamed because it was the party that decided who to field. It was not necessary to field an MP from the affected area as anyone could speak on the issue with the help of facts and figures, he said.

Mistry said Mumbai MPs could still raise the issue through a variety of ways such as a calling attention motion or zero hour mentions. There are issues such as the medical treatment being made available to the victims, or insurance claims. They can always raise these issues, he said.

However, had the Mumbai MPs pushed for a say in the debate, they would have got a chance to speak, party sources here said. As there was little interest from a majority of them in participating in the debate, the floor was left to leaders with limited stakes in the metropolis.

Instead of focusing on the vital security issues and remedial measures for Mumbai, the exercise turned into a communal versus secular fight.

In the Rajya Sabha, where the issue was raised through a short duration discussion, Mumbaikars faired a lot better.

Manohar Joshi, P C Alexander, Ved Prakash Goel, Hema Malini and Abu Asim Azmi voiced the concerns of the city during this debate. Home Minister Shivraj Patils speech was telling though. At Rajya Sabha (as also at Lok Sabha), he promised extra security to Delhi and Kolkata Metros and along Bihars borders.

A plan to provide full security to Delhi Metro is nearly completed, he said. As for Mumbai, We leave it to the State Government to look at these aspects carefully, prepare the plan and forward those plans to the Government of India.

The ones who spoke

Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi (Raiganj, West Bengal)
Mohammad Salim (Calcutta North, West Bengal)
Mohan Singh (Deoria, Uttar Pradesh)
Lalu Prasad ( Bihar)
Anant Gangaram Geete
(Ratnagiri, Maharashtra)
A K S Vijayan (Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu)
Rattan Singh Ajnala (Taran Taran, Punjab)
Braja Kishore Tripathy ( Puri, Orissa)
Madhusudan Mistry (Sabarkantha, Gujarat)
Harin Pathak (Ahmedabad, Gujarat)
C K Chandrappan (Trichur, Kerala)
M Ramadass (Pondicherry)
Shri K Yerrannaidu (Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh)
Mamata Banerjee (Calcutta South, West Bengal)
L Ganesan (Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu)
Subrata Bose (Barasat, West Bengal)
Ranjeet Ranjan (Saharsa, Bihar)
A R Shaheen (Baramullah, Jammu and Kashmir)
Shri Chandrakant Khaire (Aurangabad, Maharashtra)
Shivraj V Patil (Home Minister)

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Ricky EllisBy:
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Mumbai Leaders in Lok Sabha - India


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