Film star and Trinamool Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha, Mithun Chakraborty, came under fire from fellow MPs for his absence from the House in almost every session.
On Tuesday, deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien read out an application for leave from Mr. Chakraborty.
“He is unable to attend sittings of the House during the current session on health grounds,” Mr. Kurien said reading from the letter.
Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal said there should be a cap on how much leave one can take on health grounds.
‘Misuse of facility’
“In every session, there is a letter from Mithun Chakraborty stating that he is unable to attend the House and he gets exemption. There should be some limit on this. It is fine if a member is unwell, but if a member does this in every session, it is a misuse of a facility,” said Mr. Agrawal.
Mr. Chakraborty’s party colleague, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, tried to defend the actor-politician. “He has been unwell for a long time and he has also submitted medical reports to that effect. So, I will request the House to consider his leave of absence on medical grounds,” he said.
Sympathy for the actor among fellow MPs, however, was in short supply. Janata Dal (United) leader K.C. Tyagi said political workers toil for years, go to jail and face police batons before getting a seat in the House.
“There should be a code of conduct for all political parties that they should send only such members who can participate in the proceedings… not those who don’t attend and do advertisements for private companies,” he said.
Mr. Kurien protested that he could not “disbelieve” a member if “he says he is unwell.” According to the rules, a member’s seat can be vacated if he is absent for 60 consecutive days without permission.
Mr. Chakraborty has 10 per cent attendance, according to the Rajya Sabha records, and he hasn’t participated in a single debate so far.
In 2014, Mr. Agrawal had questioned cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s continued absence from the House.
2015 Kashmir Despatch