Noted lyricist and Rajya Sabha member Javed Akhtar today joined the list of MPs attacking cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood diva Rekha for remaining absent from the House, saying it is unjustifiable. "There is no way we can justify MPs' absence from the Rajya Sabha, especially Sachin's. His presence counts because he is a sports legend. His words carry weight and he can have a large impact on the people," Akhtar said.
He was talking to reporters here at the launch of a song for promoting child immunisation. Since their nomination two years ago, Sachin has attended the Rajya Sabha only three days and Rekha seven days. Their absence has invited criticism from many leaders and fans alike. Akhtar's remark came days after several members cutting across party line termed their long absence as "disrespect to House and nation".
Akhtar, who has penned the song, also feels that politicians and celebrities from the creative community should dedicate themselves to the social causes because they are public figures and own a responsibility to the country. "It would be a crime on my part if I do not contribute in a social cause. One will feel guilty if somebody in my position would not do his or her bit for the country. MPs should come forward and even the artistes should promote causes like child healthcare," he said.