Rajya Sabha’s nominees
12 members are nominated to the Rajya Sabha for their contribution to art, literature, science and social services. The government duly nominated stellar names from the field of sports and other areas. Much to the opposite of what people expected, their records in the House have been abysmal. For example, if we consider the case of Sachin Tendulkar, the Bharat Ratna winning legendary cricketer had merely six per cent of attendance in Rajya Sabha as per reports of 2015. He also did not participate in a single debate. Retiring from cricket, he had endorsed big brands like BMW yet he rarely visited Rajya Sabha.
Not so inspiring
It is the same for Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar as well. She had the worst ever attendance recorded by any nominated Rajya Sabha member. Lata Mangeshkar had threatened to leave India if a flyover was built opposite her house on Pedder Road in Mumbai. The government announces people as Rajya Sabha members, and also give the highest civilian award in the country.
Let us re-think
Lata Mangeshkar & Sachin, stellar names who have inspired millions through their work, certainly have not inspired through their performance as members of the Parliament. It is not about Sachin & Lata Mangeshkar, they are symbolic of the larger malaise when it comes to attendance in Parliament. The celebrity list also include names like Mrinal Sen, Dara Singh, M F Hussain, who also had poor attendance. They barely raised any issue for debate in the House. It is time to re-think the nomination process – are the people who are nominated doing justice to their roles? Should NGOs and activists be brought in through the nomination window to add value to the debate in Rajya Sabha? We are not seeking to shut the doors on celebrities. People like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar have good records in the Parliament and have timely raised logical opinions to discuss and debate. Let the discussion and debate begin on this.