Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar is way out of form when it comes to his duties as a parliamentarian.
The 43-year-old who virtually rewrote cricket record books before calling time on a glittering career scores a hat-trick of ducks when it comes to the Rajya Sabha.
Nominated to the upper house in April 2012, Tendulkar, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all times, has never participated in a debate, tabled no private members’ bills and is yet to ask a starred question.
Starred questions, as opposed to unstarred ones, are those which a member asks the minister for an oral reply, allowing the house to ask additional questions. In short, it allows for an extensive discussion.
According to PRS legislative research – a think tank that tracks Parliament and policy – Tendulkar has asked just seven unstarred questions in his four years as an MP.
His house colleagues, on the other hand, asked 244 questions each during the same period. His attendance record is also dismal -- seven per cent against an average of 78% among members of the upper house. In fact, Tendulkar has given quite a few sessions a miss, failing to turn up even for a day.
The Rajya Sabha currently has 243 members, 11 of which are nominated. One nominated seat is lying vacant.
Film star Rekha, who ruled the silver screen in late 1970s and early 80s, has largely been a no-show as far as the Rajya Sabha goes. At five per cent, her attendance record rivals that of Tendulkar and actor Mithun Chakraborty. She was nominated to the House with Tendulkar.
Chakraborty, also a nominated member, has just 10% attendance. In the two years he has been an MP, the 66-year-old has not participated in any debate, or asked questions or brought in a private members’ bill.
His continued absence during the budget session drew the ire of fellow parliamentarians. When deputy chairman PJ Kurien sought the opinion of the members on the actor-MP’s letter seeking exemption from April 27 to May 13, Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Aggarwal had objected, saying Chakraborty repeatedly sought leave from entire sessions.
KC Tyagi of the Janata Dal (United) said parties should be more careful in nominating members.
“Why do we need such showpieces? When Tendulkar became a member it was expected that he would raise issues concerning sports but he did not. There was a long-drawn agitation at the FTII in Pune and controversies surrounding the censor board but Rekha said nothing in Parliament,” Tyagi told HT.