Protests by Congress disrupt Sachin's maiden RS speech

Actor Jaya Bacchhan also appeared to be supporting Tendulkar's bid to speak, but the protests continued.

New Delhi: Master Blaster and Bharat Ratna awardee Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday scored a duck in Parliament when he tried to make his maiden speech through a short duration discussion on the “right to play and the future of sports in India” in Rajya Sabha but the Congress kept demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh. Amid protests, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu. The government, which is already facing Opposition’s attack over Mr Modi’s remarks against his predecessor made during an election rally, blamed the Opposition party of holding up the Upper House and not allowing a “non-controversial” issue which effects the entire country, to be taken up. A combative Congress, buoyed by the 2G case verdict, remained unrelenting despite Mr Naidu requesting them to allow the Bharat Ratna awardee to initiate the discussion.

“The Congress seems to be confused and directionless in this session. In one House (Lok Sabha) they are participating in the debate but in another (Rajya Sabha) they did not allow a non-controversial issue like future of sports not to be taken up. Is this because of emergence of party’s new leadership,” asked parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar. The minister condemned the Congress’ behaviour and said Mr Tendulkar, who had weathered many seasons and handled many type of bowlings, must be astounded and amused by the Opposition’s behaviour in the Rajya Sabha.

Though the House had to be adjourned, Mr Naidu was keen that the discussion be taken up.

SP’s Naresh Agrawal also tried to raise a point of order, in the context of the 2G verdict but the Chair disallowed.

Seeking to restore order, Mr Naidu repeatedly chided the protesters and sought to remind the Congress leaders that Mr Tendulkar was a “Bharat Ratna”, an inspiration for the youth, and someone who had done so much for the country, but the Opposition party stuck to its stance.

In his characteristic style, Mr Naidu told the shouting members that all they would achieve by shouting will be “sore throats” and “wastage of time” and again advised them to listen to the “little master”.

Actor Jaya Bacchhan also appeared to be supporting Mr Tendulkar’s bid to speak, but the protests continued.

A livid Mr Naidu said that the comments made by the protesters would not go on record and asked Mr Tendulkar to proceed. However, he could only stand and watch.

“I don’t want these sorts of scenes to be telecast around the country. A person who is a Bharat Ratna and who is speaking for the first time in the House is being obstructed like this. I don’t want this message to go to the country,” said Mr Naidu as he adjourned the House for the day.

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