MP Sachin Tendulkar turns down govt. bungalow as he thinks it to be a waste of taxpayers’ money

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, has turned down the government bungalow he is entitled to as a parliamentarian, says a report in The Hindustan Times, adding that the 39-year-old said he would prefer to stay in a hotel at his own expense whenever he is in Delhi to attend Parliament.

“I am not keen on blocking a government bungalow. This would be a waste of taxpayers’ money as I reside in Mumbai. It would be better if the bungalow is allotted to someone else who needs it,” he said.

Asked to comment on Tendulkar’s decision, RS MP Prof PJ Kurien, one of the six standby vice-chairmen of the Upper House, said: “It’s a personal decision we should respect.”

Tendulkar was reportedly allotted a bungalow close to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s house on Tughlaq Lane in the heart of Capital. MPs are entitled to a “Type VII” bungalow and many of these have sprawling lawns, servant quarters and guest rooms.

Meanwhile a report in The Indian Express says that when Viswanathan Anand was defending his World Championship title against Boris Gelfand in Moscow last month, the spotlight was on chess but on the margins of that tense faceoff, however, was a quirky tale of a Russian grandmaster who was sitting in the commentary box, his obsession with cricket — and with Sachin Tendulkar.

For years now, Peter Svidler, reporting on the Anand-Gelfand game for the FIDE website (the international chess federation) website, has used the handle “Tendulkar” to play chess online at the popular Internet Chess Club (ICC) server which has over 200,000 members including Garry Kasparov and many top GMs.

“I chose “Tendulkar” because I meant it as some innocent fun. The intention was to create an illusion, sort of a practical joke on the Western reaction and speculation of people who would assume that somebody who plays chess well and uses an Indian sportsperson’s handle must be Anand,” Svidler, 35, told The Sunday Express. And it worked like a charm.

For, being an elite GM himself, ranked 13th in the world, Svidler kept winning more than losing and many thought he was Anand himself playing under Tendulkar’s name.