Vinod Khanna’s four parliament questions cost Rs.13 mn each!

April 16th, 2009 - 12:10 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, April 15 (IANS) Actor-MP Vinod Khanna’s each question in parliament has cost a whopping Rs.13 million (Rs.1.3 crore) of public money.
This has been revealed by a civil watchdog, Punjab Election Watch (PEW), in information compiled about all 13 members of parliament from Punjab.

Khanna, who represents the backward Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency but resides mostly in Mumbai, raised just four questions in his five years (2004-09) as an MP and also participated in just four debates.

He has been elected MP from the border district of Gurdaspur three times in 1998, 1999 and 2004 on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. He is seeking re-election for the fourth time now.

PEW activists, getting information through the Right to Information and Lok Sabha website, found that Khanna attended the parliament sessions only for 152 days. He claimed over Rs.4.9 million (Rs.49 lakhs) in salary, travel and other allowances. Khanna also got Rs.10 crore as Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund.

“His each day in the house costs the public Rs.690,204,” a PEW statement said from its Ludhiana office.

His neighbouring BJP MP from Hoshiarpur constituency, Avinash Rai Khanna, fared much better - asking 290 questions and participating in 116 debates. Each question of this MP cost the public Rs.254,561.

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu attended parliament only for 80 and 95 sittings respectively.

“The figures calculated for each MP do not include the cost of security and expenses incurred on maintaining and running parliament,” PEW functionary Hitender Jain said.

Former Akali Dal MP, Sukhdev Singh Libra, who defied his party whip to vote for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government in the July 22, 2008, trust vote, had an attendance of 300 days in the house - the highest for any Punjab MP.

In the outgoing Lok Sabha, the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance had 11 MPs and the Congress had two.

The PEW report is likely to embarrass the sitting MPs in Punjab seeking re-election.

Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats go to polls May 7 and 13.

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