First-timers brought to the fore in Lok Sabha

Biggest change is in the fact that parliamentary responsibilities and positions in parties are being delegated to new MPs
The 17th Lok Sabha may not have topped the figure of the previous one for first-term MPs, with 313 in 2014 compared to the 267 now, but in terms of prominence and opportunities, the first-time members have never had it so good.
The Lok Sabha sat late on two days this week, till 11.15p.m. on Tuesday to debate the Union Budget and till midnight on Thursday to discuss the demand for grants for the Railway Ministry, going by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla (himself a second-term MP) new policy that more and more first-timers should be given an opportunity to speak. But the biggest change is in the fact that parliamentary responsibilities and positions in parties are being delegated to new MPs, where it was once the preserve of experienced legislators with seniority strictly followed. Margani Bharath, 36, a first-timer from the YSRCP (the fourth largest party in the House with 22 seats) is the chief whip of a group that has a former State Minister and Rajya Sabha member and a four-term MP in the mix. Mr. Bharath told The Hindu that his appointment reflected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s attitude that new leadership should be put forward. Another first time MP who has got an important role is Kunwar Danish Ali of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). He has been appointed as the leader of the party’s parliamentary group “I may be a first-timer, but I have been associated with former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowdaji and know a bit about parliamentary dos and don’ts,” he said.
He noted that with 10 MPs, the BSP may not be allotted as much time as it would like, but the new policy of Speaker Birla has meant that many of his colleagues got an opportunity to speak in this session. “We take turns, and there is no domination by one speaker. This session was good in assessing what each MP’s strength in terms of subjects is,” he added. The BJP too has appointed several first-time women MPs as additional whips to keep the flock of 303 MPs in order and they are learning on the job. The Lok Sabha, considered a representative of the country, is finally reflecting the demographic realities of an India with the largest number of young people.

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