India - Parliament's Top Performers Include a Former Stand-Up Comic and a 26-Year-Old

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NEW DELHI:  What makes a good member of Parliament? To begin with, they clock regular attendance. They participate in debates and ask questions in Parliament, also raising issues important to their constituencies.

As the Budget session gets into the swing of things, NDTV used data from PRS legislative to analyse who have been the top performing first-time MPs in the nine months since the new Lok Sabha was elected. The results threw up surprises - at least one of the top performers is very low-profile and from a non-political background and one is a former stand-up comic-turned-politician. The 16th Lok Sabha has a record 315 first-time MPs.

These are the best first-timers:

PP Choudhary - 61 debates, 132 questions, 100% attendance:

This BJP lawmaker is not among the young brigade of first-time MPs. But he has displayed more enthusiasm and energy in Parliament than many of his younger colleagues. The 61-year-old Supreme Court lawyer from Pali in Rajasthan entered politics only in 2013 when invited by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, and inspired by Narendra Modi. His record is surpassed by none in the 16th Lok Sabha, but he plays it down. "You see a lawyer's work is in line with that of an MP. It's legislative, so not that difficult," he says modestly.

Dushyant Chautala - 22 debates, 152 questions, 89% attendance:

Dushyant Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal stands head and shoulders above everyone else and not just because he is 6 feet four inches tall. A fourth-generation neta from the famous Chautala family of Haryana, Dushyant came back from the US straight into politics. Not yet 26, he is the youngest MP in the Lok Sabha. "I don't have a choice as there are only two people from my party and so we have to work very hard," 'he says of his stellar performance as a parliamentarian.

Rajeev Satav - 20 debates, 153 questions, 89% attendance:

This 40-year-old Congressman is giving Dushyant a run for his money. The Maharashtra MP is an aide of Rahul Gandhi and worked his way up from student politics. Mr Satav was Youth Congress President before he became an MLA and then MP. Perhaps the biggest distinction between him and his leader, Rahul, is their record in the Lok Sabha - Mr Gandhi barely opens his mouth in Parliament. He does not have to, explains loyal Mr Satav. "He is the one who directs us. He tells us how we must conduct ourselves and he has duties other than just Parliament," he says about Rahul Gandhi.

Bhagwant Mann - 34 debates, 25 questions, 80% attendance:

The Aam Aadmi Party MP may be a former comic, but he knows politics is no laughing matter. Bhagwant Mann's yellow Bhagat Singh-inspired turban is his calling card, and so are his limericks on budget days. "I have already written part 2 of 'acche din'," he says referring to his speech which went viral last year. "I have to be a good MP as I have to be answerable to my people. Whatever it is about Punjab, I have to be there," says Mr Mann, 41, one of only four AAP members in the House.

Other lawmakers who have excellent records include Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand-turned-MP Ramesh Pokhriyal of the BJP. All first-timers who are giving many established veterans a run for their records in Lok Sabha registers.

There is an award for best Parliamentarian. Winners in the past include Pranab Mukherjee and Sharad Yadav.

SOURCE: NDTV, February 26th, 2015, http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/these-first-time-mps-score-straight-as-in...