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Sachin has no appeal as Parliamentarian


Rajdeep Sardesai,CNN-IBN
Apr 27, 2012 at 06:09pm IST

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Hello and welcome to DRS. My personal video blog, which gives me an opportunity to talk cricketing matters with the visitors of Cricketnext.com and IBNLive.com. This week let's talk about something that seems to be agitating a lot of us: Sachin Tendulkar's decision to accept the nomination to the Rajya Sabha. It has attracted contrasting opinions. There are some who believe that Sachin Tendulkar is taking the first tentative step towards a career in politics. Others are calling it a Congress conspiracy to offset the damage which various corruption scandals have done to the party, and there are some who believe that this is Sachin preparing for life after retirement.

Where do I stand? Well, let me be honest. I was a little surprised by Sachin Tendulkar's decision. I found it, to use perhaps the best word that comes to mind, 'curious', that why should Sachin Tendulkar, who has achieved it all, now decide to become a nominee in the Rajya Sabha? Because I believe that most of the eminent citizens, who become Rajya Sabha nominees, are little more than well-decorated ornaments. They rarely get a chance to speak, they are rarely heard and many of them are rarely seen. A good example was Lata Mangeshkar - the nightingale of India. Her voice was never heard in the Parliament. She never attended Parliament.

Will Sachin Tendulkar go the same way? Let's assume next year there is the IPL in April-May and there are also important debates in the Parliament. What will Sachin Tendulkar choose? Will he choose to play for Mumbai Indians or will he represent the Indian Parliament? I think these are questions that trouble me. I think if Sachin Tendulkar wanted to take this step towards the Parliament, my sense is he should have fully given up the game and then said, "I am committing myself to the Parliament and possibly through the Parliament to a life wherein I will work towards public service." So far, honestly over the years, through all the excellence on the cricket field, Sachin has never really taken a major stand on public issues. The only statement that comes to mind is during the Raj Thackrey's agitation, when he said, "I am an Indian first and Maharashtrian next." I thought that was a brave statement and sent out a positive signal. Also perhaps after 26/11, I remember him dedicating a hundred to the people who lost their lives in Mumbai. So he has done it, but not often enough.

Somehow, unlike Sunil Gavaskar, who I thought was always the kind who would voice his opinion, Sachin Tendulkar has hesitated before voicing an opinion on content_cnious issues, and really once you are in Parliament, you expect your Parliamentarian, even if they are eminent citizens through the nominated category, to speak up on issues of public importance.

Will Sachin Tendulkar really do that? Will he be a Shabana Azmi, who in that eminent citizen category really used her years in the Parliament to make a difference. Really when you have achieved as much as Sachin has, you really want to be a backbencher in the Parliament. I would always like to see Sachin Tendulkar in my imagination as someone who has represented the country and done it with such great dignity and pride. Somehow, Sachin as a backbencher MP, surrounded by raucous Parliamentarians, not always with the highest credibility, is, as I said, something which doesn't quite appeal. There are many other ways in which Sachin could do public service. I am not sure being a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha is the best way.

Either way, the jury is out on this one. We'll have to wait and see whether Sachin Tendulkar over the next six years really contributes to the Parliament in a meaningful way or becomes more like Lata Mangeshkar - simply a well-decorated ornament. If the latter happens, it would be a real pity.

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