NEW DELHI: The 16th Lok Sabha had many firsts, including the highest number of first-time members, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and cabinet ministers Nitin Gadkari and Jayant Sinha. On the last day of the winter session of Parliament Wednesday, Modi praised the House for having a record 58% first-time members of Parliament (MPs).
Political analysts said that the high percentage of first-time lawmakers showed that voters wanted change and a fresh start. The members acknowledged that this has taught them about the functioning of Parliament and said it brought in fresh perspective to the House.
“We will be proud of this 16th Lok Sabha, as it saw the highest number of women members elected to the House. As many as 44 first-time women MPs were elected to the Lok Sabha," Modi said in the Lok Sabha.
There are 313 MPs in the 545-member Lok Sabha who were elected for the first time in 2014. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has 268 members of which 160 had been elected for the first time. For the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), 90%, or 34 out of 37 MPs, were elected for the first time. This is the highest number of first-time MPs in three decades to be elected to the Lok Sabha, according to PRS Legislative Research.
Babul Supriyo, Union minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises, and a first-time member of the Lok Sabha from Asansol, West Bengal, said the last day of Parliament was also a new beginning. “When I look back at the 5 years, I had just come from Bollywood, knew very little about politics and the functioning of Parliament. From being a first-time parliamentarian, the experience teaches us to speak less and listen more. This would not only make us better parliamentarians, but also better human beings," he said.
The National Democratic Alliance government came to power in 2014 with a brute majority after two consecutive terms of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.
Delhi-based political analyst Manisha Priyam said: “It helps with better representation. Practically one-third of the House is represented by first-time members. It shows that people want change. If the number changes in the next election, then it shows that people are not happy with what they have done. We cannot say what this means for governance yet, but from the people’s point of view it shows a desire for change."
Gyan Varma contributed to this story.