The home ministry on Tuesday recommended the name of legendary hockey player late Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the country.
Minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that his ministry had forwarded Dhyan Chand's name to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) after receiving recommendations from various quarters.
But Union home minister Rajnath Singh, minister of state in PMO Jitendra Singh and parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu denied having any discussion on the matter.
Born in 1905, Dhyan Chand was nicknamed the 'Hockey Wizard' for his superb ball control and is considered the greatest field hockey player of all time. He won three Olympic gold medals for India between 1928 and 1936.
Dhyan Chand retired from the game in 1948. Eight years later, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. He retired from the Indian Army with the rank of Major. He passed away in New Delhi in 1979 at the age of 79.
The sports ministry has also constituted a Dhyan Chand lifetime award for sportspersons in his honour. The National Stadium in New Delhi has also been named after him. Every year on his birthday on August 29, the sports awards, namely Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya and the Dhyan Chand Awards, are given away.
The sports ministry last year had recommended Dhyan Chand's name for the Bharat Ratna but the PMO gave the award to Sachin Tendulkar, who became the youngest recipient.