Sending a tough signal that it expects its MPs to take work seriously, BJP has dropped nearly a dozen members, including Vinod Khanna, S S Ahluwalia, Dushyant Singh, Ramesh Pokhriyal and Varun Gandhi, from three parliamentary panels — all but one for inadequate attendance.
The BJP brass used the attendance record for meetings as a criterion to assess the work of MPs in the estimates, public accounts, and public undertakings committees. Six MPs were removed from the estimates committee and three each from PAC and COPU.
Other MPs who have been replaced for low attendance are Darshana Jadosh, Sanjay Jaiswal, Om Birla, Nand Kumar Chauhan and Pankaj Chaudhary. Another MP, Kirti Azad, was also removed but he has been suspended from the party on disciplinary grounds.
Speaking at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party on Tuesday, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said MPs were expected to work diligently in standing committees and other panels.
The decision has resulted in some discontent, with some of the affected MPs arguing that they were on party duty for elections and that's why missed meetings of parliamentary panels. The explanation did not wash, and Naidu is understood to have told them that there could be no exceptions.
BJP has cautioned MPs that if they fail to attend at least 50% of the meetings of committees and other parliamentary panels, they would be shifted out and replaced by others. He is learnt to have said that if MPs were too busy to attend meetings, they should concentrate on other work and make way for more interested persons.
With the tenure of three of the committees, whose members are usually formed through an election, ending on April 30, BJP has already dropped quite a few of its members from them.