While Sachin Tendulka was an inspiration to India's youth with his impeccable skills on the cricket pitch, he is turning into a poor example when it comes to his performance in the Parliament.
Tendulkar, who became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2012, has remained conspicuous by his absence in the Upper House of the Parliament this year, and his poor record was brought up on Friday.
CPI member P Rajeev pointed out that the cricketer, along with veteran actor Rekha, were close to defaulting on their attendance. "If they are absent for 60 days, their seat can be vacated."
However, Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari said that since Tendulkar has been absent for only 40 days, he has not violated the Constitution.
But this is hardly any consolation for the cricketing legend, who has come under criticism for his poor show in the Parliament. Tendulkar had keyed in attendance for only three sessions last year, according to the PRS Legilative Research.
Nationalist Congress Party leader DP Tripathi labelled Tendulkar's conduct "despicable".
"I like him very much as a cricketer and I really like Rekha as an actress but their conduct as nominated members of Rajya Sabha is despicable to say the least. By their behaviour and continued absence, they have insulted Parliament and Indian Constitution. Such people should have never been nominated to this august house," PTI quoted Tripathi as saying.
Tendulkar and Rekha are not the only celebrity Parliamentarians who have been slammed for poor attendance. MPs Hema Malini and Shatrugan Sinha have come under the scanner earlier for their poor conduct in terms of attendance.
What is worse is that Tendulkar has never even asked a single question in the Parliament, after reportedly having promised that he would further the cause of sports in the House, when he was nominated.
Compare this with the other sportsman-turned-MP Dilip Tirkey, a former hockey captain, who has effectively utilised more than half of the ₹10 crore allotted to him under the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for the development of the district of Sundergarh.
"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," Tirkey told Hindustan Times.
In comparison, Tendulkar is yet to touch the ₹15 crore allotted to him.
Tirkey has asked 16 questions so far, while shooter and Olymipc medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has also raised questions and participated in debates.
While Tendulkar's conduct is criticism-worthy, it is also a gross waste of resources given that Members of Parliament are paid 68 times higher than the per capita income of the country, according to the National Social Watch Report on Governance and Development 2013.
While Rajya Sabha seats are reserved for accomplished individuals from the fields of arts, sciences and social services, such poor records raise questions on how productive can such individuals be when in Parliament.
The National Social Watch Report 2009 had recorded the attendance of 12 celebrity MPs at that time at less than 20 percent of the total number of days in session. Five of them had never participated in any debate, the report revealed.