Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar came under attack again in Rajya Sabha on Monday, as members objected to granting him leave. Having come under fire last week, in what is seen as a damage control exercise, Tendulkar sought leave for his absence for the entire Budget Session citing “personal and professional commitments and family exigencies.”
As soon as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien sought the House’s permission to grant leave to Tendulkar, members rose up in protest. Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Aggarwal said the cricketer was in Delhi on Friday and attended a function, but did not think it proper to come to the House. He said Tehdulkar should be asked to explain “why he did not come to the House” and asked the Chair to note his objection.
Kurien overruled all the objections and managed the grant him leave. Discarding the objections, Kurien said, “So many members remain absent for various reasons and it is not for the Chair or us to inquire where they were. It is not our business.” According to rules, the House has to sanction leave to a member.
Aggarwal, however, found support from Shiromani Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujral who said: “It is a disrespect to the country if eminent people nominated to the House do not come to the House.” Congress’ Satyavrat Chaturvedi joined in and came down heavily on Tendulkar arguing he should not be allowed to remain absent in this manner.
Seeking the view of the House amid the noisy scenes, Kurien said, “His leave application has been received. We have to take it on face value as we are not here to probe and find out the veracity of it. Every member is a respected member.” Amid shouts of “no, no” from several members, Kurien said “leave is granted.”