However, there are many who feel that the latest RS nominations were made in such a tearing hurry to stall pressure from UPA’s allies. The whole Sachin exercise was kept top secret. It was discussed only between three luminaries: Sonia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram. Normally, it takes a couple of weeks for the CBI, the income tax department and local police to clear names for Rajya Sabha nominations. It is mandatory for the government to get a clean chit from all these agencies before issuing the notification. Unless it was done secretly by the Prime Minister’s Office, nobody had any inkling about the impending nominations to fill the seats that had fallen vacant. Kapila Vatsyayan retired only last month. According to UPA sources, allies like the DMK, TMC and some chief ministers, as well as powerful Congress leaders were pushing their own candidates for nomination. Once the pressure started to mount, Sonia decided to play her trump card of choosing persons who wouldn’t invite criticism.
Normally, national icons are inducted into the Upper House for their contributions in their own fields, but only when they are about to start a new vocation, or if their presence would help the government to promote certain sectors or strategic relations with other countries. For example, famous film icon Prithvi Raj Kapoor was the first film star to be nominated by Jawaharlal Nehru soon after the Rajya Sabha was created. Kapoor remained an MP until 1960. He was useful in promoting Indo-Russian relations. Indira Gandhi chose Nargis Dutt who was suffering from cancer. Indira nominated her soon after coming to power in 1980 and Nargis died in 1981. So far, only 10 Bollywood actors have been nominated, of which only four have been women. However, there was a method in the madness.
An excessive indulgence for film stars and sports stars reflects the weakening hold of the demoralised and defamed political class, which wants to shore up its dwindling electoral fortunes. Perhaps they have forgotten, such stars shine only in their respective areas and have been failures when asked to seek a mandate on their behalf. Will Sachin and others convert their national acceptability into future personal liability? Only they can decide.
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