Sports website espncricinfo.com’s brief introduction of Sachin Tendulkar says: “Perhaps the most complete batsman and the most worshipped cricketer in the world, Tendulkar holds just about every batting record worth owning in the game, including those for most runs and hundreds in Tests and ODIs, and most international runs.” Other than staggering 100 hundreds and 200 wickets in international cricket, he scored 81 centuries in the first class matches. The performance of the “God of Cricket” on pitches all around the world was nothing less than extraordinary.
But there is nothing extraordinary about his performance as a Member of Parliament. Nominated to the Rajya Sabha on April 27, 2012, his attendance has been a dismal six per cent as against the national average of 78 per cent, according to PRS Legislative Research. In three full sessions of Parliament, his attendance was nil. He has asked just seven questions so far and all of them in December 2015. Two questions are regarding making sports as compulsory subject in schools. Other three questions are related to the ministry of railways and two on road transport and highways.
However, he has done reasonably well with regard to the utilisation of MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Of Rs 7.5 crore released by the government, he has spent Rs 7.36 crore. His total entitlement of fund is Rs 20 crore and he has recommended works worth Rs 14.95 crore.
The performance of Rekha, an acclaimed Bollywood actress has nothing to write home about. Nominated to the Upper House on April 27, 2012, her attendance has been a mere five per cent. She has not asked a single question and is yet to participate in any debate so far. She has not been very liberal with the utilisation of MPLADS funds too. More than halfway through her term, she has spent just Rs 71 lakh out of Rs 2.5 crore released by the government. Her total entitlement under the scheme is Rs 20 crore but she has recommended works worth Rs 1.65 crore, according to the MPLADS website.
Do these celebrities feel out of place in Parliament? “I am of the opinion that the process of nominating members to the Rajya Sabha needs to be reviewed. It should be more transparent and democratic. You cannot always blame celebrities for lack of participation in the parliamentary proceedings. There may be some issue with regard to their connect with the people, but we should have a system in place that encourages them to participate more in the democratic process,” observes Anand Pradhan of New Delhi-based Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
According to the Rajya Sabha website, there are currently 10 nominated members in the Upper House as two positions are vacant.