NEW DELHI - As a cricketer, he enjoyed the status of a god in India. But just months after hanging up his boots, Sachin Tendulkar has come in for rare criticism for failing to attend a single session of parliament this year.
The 41-year-old, considered one of the all-time cricketing greats, promised to be a vocal supporter of sport when he was sworn in as a member of the upper house of parliament in June 2012.
But parliamentary records show the former batsman has not attended a single session this year. He made it to just three in 2013 and has so far not participated in any debates in the House.
Although Indian legislators are notorious for failing to show up, Tendulkar has the worst record of all, with just three percent attendance last year, according to the monitoring group PRS Legislative Research.
The batsman was expected to be more of a presence this year after retiring from cricket last November, and some lawmakers ventured veiled criticism of him on Wednesday - although none dared to mention him by name.
“These MPs were selected so that they can be present and make a difference in the society. But I have never seen him in the House,” Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal told parliament on Wednesday, in an apparent reference to Tendulkar.
D.P. Tripathi, an MP of the Nationalist Congress Party, said people who are not serious about attending parliament should not be nominated to the House.
“Their performance in the House has been despicable to say the least. This is an insult to the Indian parliament and such people should not be nominated to this House,” he said.
Tendulkar, the highest run-getter in both forms of the game, retired after playing in 200 Tests and scoring 15,921 runs.
He was offered one of the 12 seats in the upper house that are reserved for those who have distinguished themselves in various fields such as the arts, sciences or social services.