Parliament on Monday approved cricket icon and Rajya Sabha member Sachin Tendulkar’s application of leave for the entire budget session, even as he faced some chin music from MPs over his poor attendance record.
Tendulkar has attended the upper House only three times since being nominated by Congress over two years ago. He will have 46 consecutive absences to his name by the end of the current parliamentary session on August 14 –just 14 shy of facing disqualification.
Lawmakers cutting across party lines criticised the cricketer on Monday, terming his long absence as “disrespect to House and nation”.
WATCH: Sachin Tendulkar explains why he couldn't attend Parliament
Some MPs had earlier objected to Tendulkar staying away from parliamentary proceedings without applying for leave or informing the chairman of the upper House.
The matter came up during Zero Hour, when deputy chairman PJ Kurien told the Rajya Sabha that Tendulkar had sought permission to be absent, citing “personal and professional commitments” and “family exigencies”.
Protesting this, Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal said, “Sachin Tendulkar had come to Delhi to attend a function at Vigyan Bhavan near Parliament but did not come to the House. Members’ views are unanimous that he has no respect for the House.”
Kurien overruled the suggestion that the leave application be rejected and told the MPs, “So many members remain absent for various reasons, and it is for the Chair to investigate why they didn’t come. You cannot object.”
Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral, too, backed Agarwal, calling Tendulkar’s record as a “bad precedent”. “It is disrespectful to the country,” he said.
Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari said Tendulkar had not breached the rule book yet and there was no violation of any constitutional provision.
Ansari had last week given a clean chit to Tendulkar and Bollywood actor Rekha over their prolonged absence from Parliament, despite a furore on the issue.