Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar:  Soon after the bitterly fought 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the big politically cracker event has been the Rajya Sabha elections in Odisha in June, when BJD supported BJP candidate Ashwini Vaishnaw (former IAS & IIT alumni) in the 'larger interests of State'.

With almost half -a-year has been over since their election to the Upper House, the time demands a scrutiny of performance of the three RS members from Odisha.

An analysis of data available in public domain reveals the cracker RS poll has apparently been a damp squib. While the former IAAS Amar Patnaik and BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra scored briskly on RS pitch, Vaishnaw, former IAS and IIT Alumni, has made a very sedate start for Odisha in RS.

Sample this. Amar Patnaik has till date participated in 69 debates, lent his voice in 3 private members bills and posed 31 questions; whereas Vaishnaw could take part in only 13 debates, asked a mere 7 questions and made nil contribution towards Private Member's bill.

Sasmit Patra has so far put 44 questions, participated in 65 debates and provided his services in 3 private member's bills.

When it comes to registering their presence in the Upper House, the attendance rates has been a perfect 100 per cent for Sasmit Patra, 87 per cent for Ashwini Vaishnaw and 84 per cent for Amar Patnaik.

However, a comparison of performance of these three new members with their seniors gives an interesting twist.   

Veteran Prasanna Acharya, who leads BJD in RS, has been elected to the Upper House in 2016. Since last three years,  Acharya has participated in 69 debates, nil contribution towards Private member bills, asked 68 questions and have an attendance rate of 79 per cent.

Senior BJD leader Narendra Swain, RS member since 2015, till the end of Winter Session had put 313 questions, participated in 8 debates, had a nil contribution towards private member bill. The attendance rate is 76 per cent.

Similarly, popular ollywood actor of yesteryears and BJD leader Prashanta Nanda's scorecard reads: took part in 41 debates, nil contribution towards Private members bill, asked 32 questions and the attendance rate has been 77 per cent since debut year of 2018.

Sarojini Hembram, senior BJD leader from Mayurbhanj, has been RS member since 2014. She asked 386 questions, participated in 61 debates, no contribution towards private member bill and attendance rate has been 66 per cent.

The lone Congress member from State, Ranjib Biswal, has taken part in only 23 debates, contribution towards private member bills is zero, asked 509 questions and the attendance rate is 69 per cent. Biswal has been RS member since 2014.

For N Bhaskar Rao, BJD leader from Rayagada, who is a Commerce graduate and owns an assets worth Rs 36 crore, the RS innings since 2016 has been quite lacklusture. His attendance rate has been a poor 55 per cent, asked only half-a-dozen questions, participated in 31 debates and contribution is nil for private member bills.

Moreover, when MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Fund expenditure has been analysed, Bhaskar Rao has till date recommended Rs 7.82 crore, the lowest among all RS members from Odisha. His recommendation to entitlement rate is mere 44 per cent.

Narendra Swain topped the chart with a 95 per cent recommendation to entitlement rate, and is followed by Sarojini Hembram.

In MPLAD utilisation, Prasanna Acharya topped the list with a rate of 98 per cent and is followed by Ranjib Biswal (87.7%), Narendra Swain (85.8%) and Sarojini Hembram (83.5%).