Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took strong exception to the low attendance of members in the Treasury benches of the State Assembly here on Friday and asked the Chief Whip to prepare a list of the members who are absent during proceedings in the House.
“Why were you not present in the House?” Ms. Banerjee asked Trinamool Congress MLAs while leaving the premises of the Assembly.
When one of them responded saying that he was not present in the House during the session in the morning as he was busy at another event she admonished him and pointed out that one should not be organising events when the Assembly is in session.
Ms. Banerjee, who arrived in the Assembly during Question Hour, was upset because of the poor attendance of Ministers and party MLAs in the House.
Later in the day, on her instructions, a notice was issued by Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, Chief Whip, stating that all Ministers, MLAs and Parliament Secretaries will have to be present in the House each day of the session by 11 a.m. when the House convenes.
“They will have to remain in the House till the day’s proceedings are over,” the notice said.
Even though Ms. Banerjee disapproved of the absence of a section of Ministers and MLAs of her party in the House it is she who has been criticised by members in the Opposition for the same reasons.
Left MLAs have pointed out several times in the past that the Chief Minister has been frequently absent in the House and seldom there to reply to questions regarding departments she is in charge of.
Since the commencement of the budget session from March 8, Ms. Banerjee has been present in the House for three days till now.