New MP Tendulkar allotted free Delhi house


Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been offered a free five-bedroom house in the centre of New Delhi as a perk of his new post as a member of parliament, reports said Friday. Tendulkar, already a multi-millionaire due to his sporting success and lucrative sponsorship deals, was sworn into the upper house earlier this week, claiming a seat reserved for distinguished figures in Indian public life. He has been offered a colonial-era bungalow with large lawns on one of the smartest streets in the capital, the Press Trust of India agency reported, adding he would be provided with 24-hour security and two escort vehicles.
“He has been allotted (a) bungalow allotted mostly to ministers and senior MPs,” an unnamed official told the Times of India on Friday, though he said it was unclear whether Tendulkar would accept the free accommodation. The paper said the house had five bedrooms and would be renovated before the next parliamentary session begins in about one month. Tendulkar, who is worshipped by millions of avid cricket fans across India, is the first active sportsman to be nominated for the upper house.
The appointment attracted some criticism from the press and opposition lawmakers who described it as a crass populist move by a struggling government. Tendulkar, 39, no longer plays international Twenty20 cricket but is still one of the world’s leading one-day international and Test match players and competed in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) season. He has previously been careful to steer clear of politics and when he was sworn in on Monday he said that he would continue to concentrate on his playing career. It remains unclear how involved he will become in parliament after his retirement.