New Delhi : Obviously a Bharat Ratna cannot shield even Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar from the penetrating questions of fellow members of the Rajya Sabha. Normally, when the leave application of a member is announced by the presiding officer for approval by the House, the okay comes without the members even take note of it.
But for Tendulkar, the exceptional cricketer, nothing perhaps can be a routine. As soon as deputy chairman P J Kurien read out that Sachin had sought leave from the session due to personal and professional commitments, the Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agarwal was on his feet demanding his objection be placed on record. “He could have easily come here for five minutes if he wanted to, as he was in the Capital to attend a function,” said Agarwal.
But Kurien was in no mood to allow a debate on this issue and repeatedly observed that the House must respect every honourable member, whether he is present in the House or not.“So many members are absent for various reasons. It is for the chair to enquire as to why they were absent and it is not for the members to enquire as to why a certain member is not coming,” he asserted.
However, even Congress member Satyavrat Chaturvedi persisted with his comments about Tendulkar’s absence and Naresh Gujral (SAD) remarked that the cricketer’s absence from the House was a kind of ‘disrespect’ to the institution.
The absence of Sachin Tendulkar and the Bollywood star Rekha, both nominated to the House of Elders during the Congress regime, has been figuring in the House for one reason or the other. The members have been vocal against the absence of these two celeb-MPs although there are others who have not attended the proceedings as regularly.
The rules provide for the automatic termination of a member who skips 60 sittings, and Tendulkar would have missed 46 sittings after this budget session. Former union minister Rajiv Shukla, who has been seen escorting both Sachin and Rekha during their past visits to Parliament, told mediapersons that both of them would be attending the House before the session ends later this week.