SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
(Guinness Record Holder & RTI Activist)
It refers to media-reports about some celebrities nominated as Rajya Sabha members in notoriety for not taking their Rajya Sabha membership seriously when Sachin Tendulkar was rarely visible in Rajya Sabha in last two years of his membership even though he hardly misses any event of his interest or earning inside or outside the country. Such have also been cases earlier when celebrities like Lata Mangeshkar wasted their tenure as nominated member of the Upper House of Parliament. Rule should be to seek prior commitment of celebrities for being serious about their functioning as a responsible Parliamentarian before adding an additional feather in their caps by nominating them to Rajya Sabha. It is against public-interest that Rajya Sabha may be taken as an elite club of celebrities or those having ‘purchased’ membership by offering huge funds to parties getting them elected. Another notorious case is of George Fernandes having once been elected as Rajya Sabha member just to make his ministerial government-bungalow retained allotted to him. It may be recalled that even membership-oath of George Fernandes had to be read by his party-colleague.
Previous government showered an overdose of gesture to Sachin Tendulkar through release of commemorative stamp, awarding Bahrat Ratna and by nominating him for Rajya Sabha despite objections of many including bureaucrats, with enormous money earned by him through cricket but without any appreciable contribution to public-cause. If Sachin Tendulkar and other nominated members of Rajya Sabha do not take Parliamentary business seriously, then they should be expelled from membership of Rajya Sabha for their long absenteeism. Rules should be made which may require at least 75-percent attendance in each session by Parliamentarians for continuing their membership unless there is some reasonable cause for their absenteeism from Parliamentary proceedings.