Under attack over his absence from Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar today said there was a medical emergency that kept him away from Delhi and that he did not mean disrespect to any institution.
"My absence in Delhi has been discussed rather too much. I don't mean to disrespect any institution," he said hours after members in Rajya Sabha raked up his prolonged absence from the House and demanded his participation in its business.
Speaking at a sports function in Vigyan Bhawan not far away from Parliament, he said when he was back from England he wanted to be in Delhi.
"There was a medical emergency in my family, certain things I want to keep it private. But just to let you know, my elder brother Ajit had to undergo a bypass surgery and I had to be by his side," he said, seeking to address criticism about his absence from Delhi and Parliament.
In a veiled reference to the raging discussion about him in Parliament and outside by media, he said, "They are discussing everything about you in the media but I think you should be focussed on your job and nothing else."
He was addressing the medal winners of the Commonwealth Games at a function organised by the Sports Ministry.
"I feel happy about my presence in Delhi," the batting legend said.
"My father once told me that there will be a lot of arms that will try to pull you down but as long as you stay in the right direction you will see that at one point of time you have gone beyond them. They will join hands to praise you," he said in his address to the athletes.
"Not always everyone will like you. There will be obstructions but the energy should always be focussed on doing the right things and not get distracted," the batting icon said.
"As sportspersons, your performance will be analysed and criticised. But one thing that outsiders can't judge is the satisfaction that you will get when you give your 100 per cent. If you give 100 per cent and still the opposition team wins, you should not feel bad about it," Tendulkar said.
"I think it is important to accept everything with humility. Stay humble and stay grounded. Try to achieve more for India and we will all be behind you."
Tendulkar and Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took turns to give away the awards at the felicitation function, organised by the Sports Authority of India.
A large contingent of media personnel, who had gathered at the venue were surprised to see Tendulkar on the dais as invitation letter had not mentioned anything about his presence.
The batting legend, dressed in a black-and-white check shirt and black trousers was seen exchanging greetings as he handed over the awards to the medal winners, which included stars such as boxer Vijender Singh, shooters Gagan Narang and Jitu Rai and shuttlers P Kashyap and P V Sindhu.
Apart from Tendulkar and Sonowal, Minister of State for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, BJP leader and sports administrator Anurag Thakur, Sports Secretary Ajit Sharan and SAI DG Jiji Thomson were also on the dais.
India had finished in the fifth position with a total haul of 64 medals, including 15 gold, at the Glasgow Games.
Tendulkar and yesteryears Bollywood star Rekha earlier the day came under attack in the Upper House for attending the House for only three and seven days, respectively, since their nomination two years back.
P Rajeeve of CPI-M raised the issue of long-duration absence of celebrities as he wanted to know whether they have sought permission for it.
Responding to this, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said Rajeeve and some other members had raised the issue earlier but there was no violation of the rules.
"As per Article 104 of the Constitution, if a member is absent from either House of Parliament for a period of 60 days then the seat is considered vacant. In case of Sachin Tendulkar, he has not attended the Parliament for 40 days whereas Rekha's absence is less than this," he observed.
Kurien said Tendulkar was nominated to the Upper House in April 2012 and has attended the session for three days. "Last time he had come to the House on December 13, 2013," he said.