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Sachin stumped

Editorial |

As one of the most celebrated cricketers of all time, there would be little need to enlighten Sachin Tendulkar that when a batsman is “stumped” he has contributed to his own dismissal. The same could well hold true for the Nominated member of the Rajya Sabha whose bid to make his maiden speech ~ after some five years in the chamber ~ was scuttled. It would be over-simplistic to accuse the Opposition of foul play in not relaxing its protest against controversial observations of the Prime Minister against his predecessor when Tendulkar was “given” the floor. In reality, the man who sports a Bharat Ratna was probably taken for a ride by the government’s floor managers ~ “used” by them to try and break a deadlock.

Clearly the Master-Blaster was a victim of parliamentary skulduggery. A more experienced and politically astute member would not have attempted to initiate a discussion on a “non-toxic” issue at a time when the House was convulsing. Had Tendulkar been more regular about attending the Rajya Sabha he would have been “clued up” enough to avert getting embroiled in the stand-off. For inside the House his having earned the high national honour is of limited relevance, it gives him no special privileges. The government’s floor managers need to be reprimanded for trying to exploit Sachin’s parliamentary innocence. It has projected the ministers for parliamentary affairs in dubious light, with Tendulkar becoming the “fall guy”.

If there was nothing sinister to the “plot” Sachin would have been advised against “making his speech” on social media. Does that warrant “privilege” action? There is, all said and done, a certain sanctity to Parliament ~ no Facebook post can replicate that. Members being shouted down, or otherwise prevented from speaking, are an unfortunate reality of Parliament, even Prime Ministers have suffered thus. Resort to social media cannot be accepted as an alterative. To be fair to Sachin he might not have been aware of the googly, more “seasoned” parliamentarians would have done well to steer him away from such pitfalls.

This unhappy incident apart, Nominated members need special education on the intricacies of parliamentary practice that the manuals tend to ignore. On a more positive note, they must be afforded more opportunities to participate in debates, and not be confined to the field in which their distinguished performances earned them a coveted place in the apex legislature. There is little point in now making a fuss over Sachin not getting a chance to speak ~ on more than one occasion his non-attendance has figured in the “debates”. He may not have deserved such treatment, had he been present more often he would not have been led into a trap. “Playing cricket” is not a one-way street.