We send elected representatives to parliament to put forth the needs of the citizens & bring attention to issues of priority. The Member of Parliament is the most powerful voice of the constituents & the office of the M.P. is a key instrument in the democratic process. In Karnataka we have 28 Lok Sabha MP’s & 12 Rajya Sabha MP’s to work for the welfare of the constituents. A sum ₹5 crore is allotted to these members to recommend improvements in civic welfare in their respective constituencies every year.

Thanks to the pioneering work conducted by organizations like ADR & PRS India & access to electronic communications enabled by technology, citizens can now track the performance of their elected representatives. 9 Lok Sabha MP’s of Karnataka have criminal cases against them with 4 of these representatives with serious criminal cases. 50% of these MP’s have declared assets over ₹5 crore. Amongst the Rajya Sabha members from Karnataka, the minimum value of the declared assets in ₹1 crore with 2 members having criminal cases declared against them.        

Now withstanding questions of education, wealth & criminal record, we analyzed the performance of our MP’s in parliament in both the houses for the State of Karnataka. In terms of attendance; a basic indicator of performance 6 Lok Sabha Members have an attendance percentage of less than 60%, considering the houses of Parliament function for less than 9 months a year. In the Rajya Sabha it gets much worse. 4 members from Karnataka have an attendance of less than 30%.

Some of the numbers reflected against our candidates is embarrassing. 6 Members of Parliament have never taken part in a debate throughout the tenure. 7 of them have never raised a question. Interestingly, the MP’s from Mandya, Shivamogga & Bellary who have low attendance & performance rates in comparison with others saw it fit to contest assembly elections of Karnataka 2018 with the winners having to vacate the Lok Sabha seat which leads to a by election where the winning candidate has less than 6 months to work.

Our MP’s are also allocated a sum of ₹5 crore every year for recommendation of works that are executed by the district administration. Against an entitlement of ₹700 crore allotted for the state of Karnataka in the 16th Lok Sabha the members have sought fit to recommend an amount of ₹500 crore of which ₹438 crore was released by the district authorities with percentage of utilization over spend coming to 79.27%.

Amongst the bigger states, only Rajasthan has a lower percentage than Karnataka with the national average being 85.35%. Just to put things in perspective, Gujarat with 26 MP’s & Madhya Pradesh with 29 MP’s have ₹485 crore & ₹592 crore released by the Government of India over the same period. Historically, Karnataka has recorded a 92% utilization of released funds which only indicates the further gap in performance of our MP’s.  

Interestingly, in Karnataka it is well established that candidates with wealth & criminal charges have a higher chance of winning elections. Such candidates deliver weak performance & spend less on their constituencies compared to candidates who are not wealthy & have no criminal cases against them.

As the 2019 General Elections draw near it is the duty of every citizen to ask themselves; what has been the performance of our elected representatives? How much time have they spent in dealing with matters of priority? How well have they allocated works towards core issues like provision of drinking water, betterment of educational facilities & the upgrading and improvement of civic infrastructure?