The wrath of Rajya Sabha MPs fell on Bollywood star of yesteryears Rekha and master blaster Sachin Tendulkar for being absent for long durations. But they were not the only truant MPs.
Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty and industrialists Vijay Mallaya, Sanjay Dattatraya Kakade and Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy who escaped the ridicule, in fact, are guilty of greater absenteeism as they have attended the Upper House only on 1, 4, 4, and 4 days respectively in the current session.
Jaya Bachchan and poet Javed Akhtar, however, managed to save Bollywood from absolute humiliation by attending the House for 26 and 21 days respectively.
Attending parliament remains low on the priority list of MPs like Mallaya and Roy who had attended the Upper House only for two days in the last winter session too.
In comparison the oldies, well in their 80s and even in 90s, Motilal Vora (86), Ram Jethmalani (91), Karan Singh (83), CP Thakur (83) AV Swamy (85) former PM Manmohan Singh (82) and K Parasaran (87) have maintained nearly perfect attendance, in spite of not maintaining a robust health.
While CP Thakur, Motilal Vora, A V Swamy, MS Gill and Manmohan Singh have maintained a cent percent attendance record in the current session by coming on all 26 days, nonagenarian Jethmalani has attended the session for 21 days, Karan Singh on 20 days and K Parasaran on 24 occasions. Despite not keeping well former deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha K Rehman Khan managed to attend the session for 18 days.
Unlike many of their junior colleagues, most oldies have sat through long hours listening to the debates patiently and a few like AV Swamy, have even intervened and enlightened the House with their keen observations and touching anecdotes.
Long serving officials in the Rajya Sabha who have spent at least 15 years in service say that absenteeism is becoming a regular habit among young and especially the nominated Mps. "This is not a happy sign for democracy. The MPs should enact tougher rules that make their colleagues to take the House seriously. At present, an MP can abstain for 60 days at a stretch, without contributing anything and still have the status of an MP," said a Rajya Sabha official.
The officials faintly remember that only one MP from Punjab had been expelled from the Rajya Sabha on account of absenteeism. "Tendulkar could have done a lot. Instead he sought leave. How does it help the nation that has given him so much honour, including the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna," lamented another official.