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Sachin Tendulkar, India’s cricketing talisman, far outshone former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey in the popularity stakes. But in Parliament, it is a very different story.
While Tirkey, a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP from Odisha, has not only utilised his MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds to good effect, but also asked many questions in Parliament, Tendulkar is yet to ask his first question after being nominated to the Upper House in 2012, a few months before Tirkey.
“I come from a poor state and I understand the problems,” says three-time Olympian Tirkey. “I am using my MPLADS fund on building roads, street lights, toilets, bore wells and hockey grounds. I have also installed five transformers and stationed two ambulances in my district.”
In his adopted district of Sundergarh, Tirkey, 36, has spent Rs. 5.39 crore of the Rs. 10 crore entitled to him. Tendulkar, who has Rs. 15 crore to spend, has not touched the money.
Tendulkar, on his part, denied any inaction in disbursing the MPLADS funds. “I have received thousands of requests, not just from Mumbai or Maharashtra, even from Himachal Pradesh,” the cricketer told HT.
“We have to go through the requests and figure out which of these are genuine. It is time consuming and I have sought advice from Mumbai Suburban district collector, Shekhar Channe, on how to use this fund faster.”
Under MPLADS, each member is entitled to Rs. 5 crore annually. Rajya Sabha MPs can choose to spend the money on projects in any part of the state they are elected from, while a nominated MP can pick any district in the country.
Besides funds, Tirkey has also initiated discussions on women and child development issues, mines, railways and sports. In all, he has asked 16 questions in Parliament.
Olympic silver-medal winning shooter and first-time Lok Sabha MP, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, has also raised a few questions and participated in the debate on the railway budget.
Tendulkar’s Rajya Sabha profile, by contrast, says, “No questions asked by me.”