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Row over Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha's absence in Rajya Sabha: Congress leader Ambika Soni says both have failed as parliamentarians
Legendary cricketer Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and evergreen Bollywood actress Rekha were nominated as Rajya Sabha members in April 2012 by the UPA government. At that time though it was more a symbolic move by the government to recognise their contributions in their respective fields, however people were expecting that Tendulkar and Rekha will raise some crucial issues also faced by the sports and film industry.

Leave alone their participation in any debate or giving voice to any concern related with their fields, these two celebrity parliamentarians have become matter of discussion inside and outside the parliament for their long absence and that too without notifying the speaker of the house.

Article 104 of the Constitution says that if a parliamentarian does not attend the parliament for 60 days without informing the speaker of the house then his or her seat could be declared as vacant. Replying to a query raised by some Rajya Sabha MPs, the deputy speaker of the house PJ Kurien informed the members that Tendulkar was absent for 40 days and Rekha's absence is less than that. He added that both the members have not violated Constitutional provisions.

However, still there were questions being raised on the non-serious attitude shown by Tendulkar and Rekha with respect to attending the parliament's proceedings.

Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni while replying to a question regarding Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha said that both have failed to perform their duties as a parliamentarian.

"These two people performed very well in their fields and because of this only Indian parliament honored them with Rajya Sabha membership. But unfortunately they failed to perform their duties as they were expected so. They hadn't exercised their parliamentary responsibilities. Both had attended the session about twice or thrice only," said Ambika Soni.

She also favored termination of their membership if they were not performing well. She stated, "They had been nominated as MPs, so that they can represent their fields in perfect manner, but if they failed to do that, then the House is free to supersede them with two other eligible persons. I think, they should be asked first that either they are interested in the membership of the parliamentary work or not and then right decision should be taken."

Rajesh Dixit, National Secretary of SP said, "One should follow the rules of the parliament, give their views, participate in parliamentary proceedings and should attend it on regular basis too. Whatever have been said by the respective member, it is rightly said that they should attend the sessions otherwise they should not to be part of the House. And I would not like to give hard comment on that they should be terminated or not, but all I can say that they need to be regular in the House."

BJP's spokesperson Sudhanshu Mittal, "These two people (Rekha and Sachin Tendulkar ) are very accomplished person. Before their membership is updated I think it will be better if the government or the speaker reach to them and make them aware of their responsibilities."

Dr. Prem Singh, General Secretary and Spokesperson, Socialist Party, India said, "I would like to suggest that certainly there should be a provision in writing. If a particular nominated candidate has failed to attend session for a long, so, they can be asked to leave the post. And eligible person from the same category can be appointed."

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