Missed parliament due to family emergency: Sachin

New Delhi (IANS): Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar Friday broke his silence over his continued absence from the Rajya Sabha, saying a family emergency kept him away from attending the parliament session.

“My absence in Delhi has been discussed rather too much. I don’t mean to disrespect any institution,” said Tendulkar, hours after the Rajya Sabha witnessed an uproar over his prolonged absence.

The cricket legend said after returning from England, where he attended a charity dinner, he wanted to be in Delhi but a family emergency kept him away.

There was a medical emergency in my family, certain things I want to keep private. But just to let you know, my elder brother Ajit had to undergo a bypass surgery and I had to be by his side,” Tendulkar said, addressing the medal winners of the 2014 Commonwealth Games here at the Vigyan Bhavan.

“I feel happy about my presence in Delhi,” he added.

In a veiled attack on those who were criticising him for his absence from the Rajya Sabha, Tendulkar said: “They are discussing everything about you in the media but I think you should be focussed on your job and nothing else.”

Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Olympic silver medallist and BJP Lok Sabha member Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Anurag Thakur, also a BJP parliamentarian, were present at the event organised by the sports ministry.

Tendulkar and actor Rekha, who were both nominated by the then Congress-led government, were discussed in the Rajya Sabha for their continued absence from the upper house.

But, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P.J. Kurien said both members have not violated any rule.

He said both members have not been absent for more than 60 days and, therefore, have not violated any rule.

“As per the rules (Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business), if a member is absent from meetings of either house of parliament without permission for a period of 60 days, the house may declare his/her seat vacant,” he said.

“The absence of Tendulkar is about 40 days at present and that of Rekha is less than that. In both cases, there has been no violation of the provisions,” he added.

Both members were nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April 2012. While Tendulkar has attended just three sittings so far, Rekha has been present in seven.

Tendulkar has not attended a single meeting this year. His last appearance was on Dec 13, 2013, Kurien said. Rekha last attended the house Feb 19.

Kurien’s response came after Communist Party of India-Marxist member P. Rajeev raised the question of their lack of participation in the Rajya Sabha meetings.