New Delhi, Dec 28: Cracking the whip, an embarrassed Congress will serve show cause notice to 13 party MPs who were absent during voting on Constitution Amendment Bill on Lokpal yesterday much to the annoyance of Sonia Gandhi.
“I will be certainly writing letters to them seeking an explanation for their absence”, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters today after reports that an angry Congress President has sought the list of erring members.
Bansal said that as many as 13 Congress MPs were absent during the voting and some seven to eight members from the allies. He said that two of the absentee Congress members had sought prior permission from him.
Downplaying the absence of members, Bansal said that even if all of them were present in the House, it would not have helped in the passage of the Constitution Amendment bill.
“Even if all the 277 UPA members minus the Speaker were present during voting, the bill still would have been defeated”, he said adding that as many as 285 members were needed for the passage at that time when there were 420 members in the 543-member House.
A Constitution amendment bill requires the support of two thirds of those present and voting and not less than a simple majority.
Speaking separately, Personnel Minister V Narayansamy disapproved of the absence of the members saying “all our MPs have to be present when an important legislation is being considered and voting is taking place”.
Sources said party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had floated the idea of granting constitutional status to Lokpal, is also furious after the bill failed to get through in the Lok Sabha yesterday because of want of requisite numbers.
Lone member of Kerala Congress M in the Lok Sabha Jose K Mani was not present.
Of the absentee MPs, six Congress members are from Gujarat, including Union Minister Dinsha Patel who was at home in connection with the marriage of his grand daughter.
Among others who were said to be absent were K Sudhakaran (Kerala), Sanjay Bhoi (Orissa),Hamdullah Sayeed (Lakshadweep), K Raj Gopal Reddy (Andhra Pradesh) and M Rajamohan Reddy.
Reddy is a supporter of YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy and has already submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
Suresh Kalmadi, Congress Lok Sabha member from Pune, is in Tihar jail in connection with Commonwealth Games mess and former Union Minister A Raja of DMK in regard to the 2G scam.
Three MPs of DMK and two of Trinamool Congress—Kabir Suman and Tapas Paul were also absent.
One of the absentee DMK MPs was Minister of state for social Justice D Napoleon.
The sources said Sonia Gandhi was angry and has tasked party MPs Girija Vyas and Sandeep Dikshit to prepare the list and find out the reasons for the absence.
A show cause notice would be issued to the absentee MPs, they said.
With regard to action against the absentee MPs of allies, the sources said it was for the leadership of respective parties to decide.