Among the advantages of being a Rajya Sabha member, as opposed to Lok Sabha, is that you can be nominated. You do not have to stand for elections, which I think is rather degrading for your self-respect. I mean, how can you get up on a stage and tell people you are the best. Others may praise you, publicise your good qualities, but not yourself. A person has to have a tremendous ego to do that. Of course, all those who stand for elections have it.
Also, to get into the Rajya Sabha, you do not have to belong to any party. You are nominated because you are you. M. F. Husain did not belong to any party, nor did Khushwant Singh. And Russy Karanjia belonged to all the parties, at the same time and at separate times.
The perks are that you get accommodation in New Delhi, subsidised meals at the parliament canteen and free travel. My main attraction for the job is the free travel part. When Abu Abraham was a member, he wandered all over the country, wrote about it, drew pictures of it.
Some of these things apply to being a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council also. But I would not like to be an MLC. Cooped up in the council hall every afternoon, half listening to some members droning away. It is not my scene, and I have had enough of it as a reporter.
Besides, you should see the MLAs hostel, where they are put up. You cannot fid a worse stinkpot if you looked for it, not at least in the Churchgate area where it is situated. For a while, when I was houseless, I stayed at the MLAs hostel, courtesy an MLA friend. And while I shall be forever grateful to him for having provided me with shelter when urgently required, I shall never forget that experience. The place stank like an unwashed ST bus.
I would like to be a municipal corporator though. Because I believe that as a corporator I could do something for the city. The corporation is the most appropriate place to look after the city, to tend it and refurbish it.
As a matter of fact, what Bombay requires is not a great chief minister, or a committed urban development minister, or a governor's do-gooder wife, or a sheriff, or the Bombay Management Association, but 100 decent corporators. People who will have nothing to do with politics. Who will first have the city sweeped, then washed, then painted, remove illegal structures, get people into houses, build roads, have more buses, trains. Money will come through the citizens. There are enough industrialists to pay for it.
So, we should concentrate on getting 99 corporators. I will be the 100th.