NEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar, who turned 39 yesterday, will now become a parliamentarian with the government nominating him to the House of Elders, Rajya Sabha, along with actress of yesteryear Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga. The nomination of the three eminent personalities was tonight approved by President Pratibha Patil under Article 80 of the Constitution that allows the President to nominate 12 members to the 250-member Upper House.
The names of Tendulkar, who has brought many a laurel to the country through his exploits in the game, Rekha, known for her brilliant and emotional portrayals in Hindi cinema in the 80s, and industrialist and social worker Aga were sent by the Prime Minister to the home ministry yesterday for approval by the President.
70-year-old Aga, former chairperson of Thermax Industries and a member of the Sonia Gandhi led National Advisory Council, is a social worker who had figured among the richest Indians in the list by Forbes. Article 80 of the Constitution provides for nomination of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in matters such as literature, science, art and social service. 57-year-old Rekha was one of the top heroines of the 80s in Hindi films and had won several national awards in her acting career.
Tendulkar’s nomination to Rajya Sabha has come as a surprise against the backdrop of a long-standing demand for conferring of Bharat Ratna on him for his contribution to the game.
He completed the historic achievement of scoring 100 international centuries in March this year. Earlier in the day, Tendulkar, accompanied by his wife Anjali, met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence. Tendulkar would be the first active sportsman and a cricketer to be nominated to Rajya Sabha.
The House already has a member from the film world in Javed Akhtar. Tendulkar is the first sports personality to be nominated to Rajya Sabha while there have been several film personalities who have been nominated in the past.
Film personalities who were nominated in the past include Hema Malini, Vyjayantimala,Nargis Dutt, Lata Mangeshkar and Sivaji Ganesan. Under the anti-defection law, a nominated member has the option to give a declaration within six months if he wants to associate himself with a political party in the House.
Former cricketers on Thursday welcomed the government’s nomination of Sachin Tendulkar for a Rajya Sabha seat, saying that it was a great honour and the iconic batsman deserved it for bringing laurels to the country.
Former stumper Kiran More described the government’s move as good news for the sports fraternity.
“It’s great news. It’s good for the entire sport fraternity. It’s undoubtedly a great honour for Tendulkar and he deserves it. He is a great ambassador of the game,” said More.
“I hope Sachin would do a great job. There have been a lot of issues in sport, with cricket being given the top priority. His valuable inputs would definitely help the Indian sport. He may not devote a lot of time to attend Rajya Sabha but he can convey his ideas. I’m looking forward to see him as a Rajya Sabha member,” he added.
Another former wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani congratulated Tendulkar for being nominated to the Rajya Sabha but gave a guarded response on how the iconic batsman would conduct in his role in the Parliament.
“Many congratulations to him. But it’s up to him how he goes about it if he accepts it at all. It’s difficult to say whether this move will give us results. It’s like you cannot say a great cricketer to be a great coach. It’s entirely up to him to manage this. I wish him all the best,” Kirmani said.
Former batsman and coach Anshuman Gaekwad said Tendulkar would remain as a straightforward person and not change his attitude and approach to life even if he becomes a Rajya Sabha member.
“It’s an honour to be a Rajya Sabha member. Having known Sachin from really close quarters, I don’t think he will be able to do justice to the position. He is a straightforward person. I know his attitude and approach. He will not change his ideology or bend himself to do some favour,” he said.
“You know what politics is. We sportspersons tend to hit the ball straight but politicians hit the ball indirectly. I think Sachin deserves much more than that. Why only Sachin, there are other sportspersons like Vishwanathan Anand, Geet Sethi, Abhinav Bindra and many others who should also be a part of the Upper House ,” said Gaekwad.
Welcoming Tendulkar for a seat at the Rajya, former Test cricketer and Lok Sabha MP Kirti Azad said, “People have been nominated in the fields of art, literature, science etc. So Tendulkar is one of the greats of cricket. It’s very good if he comes to Parliament.”
Former opening batsman Arun Lal also welcomed the government’s move, saying, “It’s a great honour for Tendulkar and he richly deserves it. He has given so much joy to the country.”
Former captain Dilip Vengsrakar felt it could be difficult for Tendulkar to give time for his role as a Rajya Sabha member.
“I am not sure whether he will accept it. He keeps playing throughout the year. It will be really difficult for him to devote time for this. I am not sure,” he said