Celebrity MPs: Responsible Leaders or Absentee Parliamentarians?
Professional field is a different type of pitch to bat on. Everyone wants to push others behind and remain ahead. There is no dearth of competition in any field. Achieving something in the professional life after a tough and hard-fought competition really gives a lot of pleasure.
So is the case with politics. There are two categories of politicians – one is by choice and the other is by chance. Former types struggle a lot in their political career. They must start from the grassroots level and run from pillar to post for getting forward and leaving their competitors behind. They see lots of ups and downs in their political career.
Latter don’t have the sound knowledge of politics. They are mostly encouraged by the political parties to enter politics due to their name and fame in their own profession.
That is why most of the celebrities get elected or nominated to the parliament easily. But they are not very much aware of their real responsibility as parliamentarians.
Records show that celebrity MPs belonging to different segments log lower attendance in comparison to their counterparts. So, they are not able to take part in parliamentary debates properly and ask fewer questions in the parliament. But one positive aspect with them is that they utilise their official funds in a better way.
There is a long list of parliamentarians who are not able to serve their people with dedication, because they spend much of their time pursuing their professional fields.
Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and film star Rekha, both Rajya Sabha (RS) MPs, were nominated in 2012 by the UPA government.
However, Rekha’s attendance in the RS was around 5 percent and master blaster Sachin was not far behind. His attendance was also in one digit only at 8 percent. The UPA government nominated them to serve the people with great efficiency, but they failed miserably.
People elect noted personalities with the hope that they will work for their welfare wholeheartedly, as they do in their own profession. Unfortunately, most of them take it for granted.
Take the example of newly elected (17th Lok Sabha) MP of East Delhi, Gautam Gambhir. He was absent in the first session of parliament. At present, he is in England and busy there as a commentator in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
It is undeniable that he was a great servant of India cricket and played a decisive role in the 2011 World Cup. Credit should be given to Gambhir for playing a match winning knock in 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka. However, a term in the Lok Sabha is a different ball game altogether, and he needs to be more diligent in his responsibility as an MP.
Actor turned politician Sunny Deol has gone one step ahead. He has no time for the people of Gurdaspur. He has no time either to attend parliament or to serve the people of his constituency.
He has given this responsibility to Gurpreet Singh Palheri to take care of his constituency. This way, matinee idol Deol has broken the heart and faith of the people of Gurdaspur.
It seems despite being accorded trust by the public, professionals do not take keen interest to attend to their parliamentary duty. One reason could be that they don’t have to sweat long and hard for getting a seat in either house. So, such people relegate it as their secondary responsibility.
Of late, Prime minister Narendra Modi has expressed his unhappiness over the poor attendance of Members of Parliament from either house. He said in the party meeting that attending parliament is the basic responsibility of the elected members. He further said that he “can call any of them any time’.
Narendra Modi also lauded NDA partner LJP MP Chirag Paswan for his sincerity in attending the parliament, and asked BJP MPs to take a leaf from Paswan’s book on how to come to the house with full preparation on any issue, to participate in parliamentary debates.
It should be noted that article 104 of the Indian constitution says, if a member is absent from either House of Parliament (Upper or Lower) for 60 days, then their seat would be considered vacant.