Rahul Gandhi. This name evokes highly varied reactions from educated Indians today. On one hand this ‘destined to be PM’ scion of a highly influential politically dynasty has loyal followers. On the other, some truly heavyweight critics lash out at his inexperience and non-capabilities.
Let’s do an objective performance appraisal of Rahul Gandhi, using more data and less rhetoric. The data used here is available in the public domain, so you can check and inform us if there is a discrepancy. The hypothetical role we want you, the reader, to play is to be the manager of Rahul Gandhi at his work place. His work place is obviously the Parliament of the world’s largest democracy. So what factors would you have considered if you were given this very important role? Since his role is that of people management and their development, you might naturally track the following:
So here we go with these performance appraisal parameters. You can start keeping your rating records after each section.
Let’s hear Rahul Gandhi’s detractors once:
We have seen a very veteran legal expert Ram Jethmalani asking open, public questions to Rahul Gandhi, which he never answered. We have seen the same Jethmalani going even a step further to term this MP as a total disaster. The Indian Express has done some detailed reporting on the educational qualification claimed by Rahul in his MP affidavits, as not matching their investigations in Cambridge, UK. Subramanian Swamy, the biggest thorn to the Nehru dynasty of late, has even gone on record stating that Rahul is “dumb”. We can easily term the last one as the most damaging feedback you as an appraiser can collect about any Parliament’s member. There are numerous such allegations and exposes about the “Prime Minister-in-waiting” over the years.
Either Rahul Gandhi totally ignores such naysayers or he probably doesn’t have a good rebuttal to all these comments, facts and allegations presented in the public space by various personalities.
Let’s hear the ‘We Love Rahul Gandhi’ brigade:
On the other side of the spectrum, we have a long list of Rahul Gandhi supporters. Ashok Gehlot, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, wants Rahul to be a PM. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna wants Rahul Gandhi as a PM in 2014. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has openly expressed his desire to induct Rahul into the Cabinet. There are countless media houses doing yearly or half yearly roundups of the public mood in ‘favour’ of Rahul Gandhi occupying the top chair of India.
Here too, Rahul Gandhi has been playing a wait-and-watch game. He has said many times that he is not keen on becoming Prime Minister.
Whether he wants to become or not, the real question you, the appraiser, need to ask is: Has he proved himself in his current role, that is of an elected Member of Parliament?
Here’s Rahul’s ‘proven’ track record at his workplace:
We will explore some hard data using publicly available data from PRS Legislative Research, a very trust-worthy site for Parliament statistics. Here is Rahul Gandhi’s personal page there, with data updated a few days back: http://www.prsindia.org/mptrack/rahulgandhi
1. Debates: Congress party’s Rahul Gandhi attended five debates in five years. Compare with Shailendra Kumar (SP), from Rahul Gandhi’s State of UP, who participated in 340 debates. Also there were 350 MPs out of nearly 500 for whom data was collected, who participated in more debates than Rahul Gandhi.
2. Rahul presented zero private member’s Bill(s) during the 14th Lok Sabha. Compare this with CK Chandrappan (CPI) of Kerala, who presented 32 private member’s Bills. There were 64 MPs who presented at least one private member’s Bill. There were a total of 309 private member Bills presented and our MP could not find time to present even one in five years.
3. Rahul asked a grand total of three questions in five years. Compare this with Anandrao Vithoba Adsul (SS) of Maharashtra, who asked 1,255 questions, or 418 times more! There were 409 Lok Sabha MPs who asked more questions than Rahul Gandhi. There were a total of 89,055 questions asked by all MPs combined. Rahul Gandhi’s share was a whopping 0.0034 per cent!
4. Lastly, Rahul attended 63 per cent of the Lok Sabha assemblies. This was 6.84 per cent less than the national average and 6.9 per cent less than Uttar Pradesh’s average attendance.
Note that all these are computed leaving aside 47 members who happen to be having Minister or Speaker roles. To sum up these five years Rahul was among the bottom 150 in debates, zero in presenting private bills, asked 0.0034 per cent of total questions, and had a poorer attendance than both State and national averages.
Rahul Gandhi’s sixth, seventh and eighth years as an MP (15th Lok Sabha):
This is from May 2009 when the 15th Lok Sabha started, till the latest data made available as of end-August 2012. You can download the full data used for this analysis from the official PRS site here: http://www.prsindia.org/MPTrack-15.xls
1. Here, Rahul attended a grand total of one debate since 2009 till date. Compare this with the national debate average of 28.2 and Uttar Pradesh’s MPs’ debate participation of 33.2 debates. Also compare with Rajasthan’s MP Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP) who participated in 322 debates so far. In total, 442 MPs participated in more debates than Rahul Gandhi.
2. Again, zero private member’s Bill has been presented by Rahul, like his last term. Compare this with Maharashtra MP Hansraj Gangaram Ahir (BJP) who presented 24 private member’s Bills till date. Sixty-eight MPs have presented, in the current Lok Sabha, at least one private member’s Bill.
3. To make things look extremely poor, Rahul Gandhi has not asked a single question in over three years! Compare this with the national average of 208 questions asked by each MP and the Uttar Pradesh MPs’ average of 172 questions. It would be astonishing to compare Rahul Gandhi with Anandrao Adsul (SS) of Maharashtra who has asked 861 questions in the current Lok Sabha! Yes 861 compared to Rahul Gandhi’s amazing count of zero. As many as 444 MPs have till date asked at least one question in the current Lok Sabha.
4. Rahul’s attendance in the current Lok Sabha is a mere 42 per cent. Compare this with the national MP attendance average of 77 per cent and Uttar Pradesh’s MPs’ attendance average of 80 per cent. Also, P T Thomas, K P Dhanapalan, Aruna Kumar Vundavalli and Ramesh Kumar must be feeling ashamed of their Lok Sabha colleague who has 42 per cent attendance while they have attended every single sitting till date. At least 472 MPs have a better attendance record in the current Lok Sabha than Rahul Gandhi.
Note that all these are computed leaving aside 58 members who happen to be having Minister or speaker roles. So among 487 MPs for whom records are available, Rahul is among the bottom three per cent for attendance, zero in private member’s Bill presentation, not one question when there have been 99,416 questions in total and among the bottom 10 per cent in debate participation. Hello Mr or Ms Appraiser, hope you are making a good note of his ‘stellar’ performance. Note that he is not holding any Cabinet post which would take time away from doing his basic job as an MP, working hard for the citizen who elected him to that coveted position.
(Tomorrow: Rahul Gandhi’s vacation notifications and other such things.)