Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha ended without him uttering a single word on Thursday as the legendary batsman, once feared by bowlers across the world, kept standing, probably thinking how to deflect and tackle the uproar in the House.The legendary batsman was called by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to initiate a short duration discussion on the right to play and the future of sports in India.As soon as Sachin rose to speak, the first time during his five-and-a-half-year tenure, Congress members stood up demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during an election rally in Gujarat.Naidu came to his help, first cajoling and persuading the members and then scolding them for their unruly behaviour.”The hon. member who has been awarded Bharat Ratna by the government, wants to make a submission on sports which is a very important activity for the country. Please follow the rules and let him speak,” Naidu said, beseeching members’ attention and assuring that he has agreed to sort out the issue by calling the leader of the house Arun Jaitley and leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for a discussion.When the ruckus did not stop, Naidu warned, “Do not trivialise things. Don’t create trouble in the House, and don’t earn bad name… Names of people who are raising slogans would be published tomorrow.”Despite being egged on by Naidu and helped by Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Sachin, cracker of many tons amid hostile conditions and roaring crowds, kept standing bemused with a smile on his face.Failing to rein in Congress benches, Naidu finally drew curtains on the proceedings. Sachin was immediately surrounded by his fans who included Derek O’Brien and Jaya Bachchan, among others.Furious for not letting Sachin speak, Jaya later said, “He has earned name for India at the world stage, it is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak?”O’Brien was upset for being denied an opportunity to bat, with Sachin being the opener.”I was padded up to bat at No. 5 in Rajya Sabha and speak on sports after Sachin was to open the innings. But the match was called off because of bad weather,” the quizzer said wittingly.Congress members, however, were unrelenting. “Why are you making a mockery of Parliament? Are false allegations on 2G and Manmohan Singh are more important or Sachin Tendulkar who never spoke in Parliament for the last five years? Does ‘Bharat Ratna’ give you the licence to speak in Parliament? All are equal in the House,” said Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury.
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