Sachin Tendulkar, “MP”, has split the political class as well as the cricketing fraternity.
Euphoria over his Rajya Sabha nomination has given way to questions — should he have accepted the offer, shouldn’t he be given the Bharat Ratna and isn't the timing suspect?
Cutting across party lines, leaders continued to hum the welcome song for the 39-year-old but there were discordant notes as well, provoked by Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam's offer to the cricketer to join the party.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta felt the government should have been more generous. “I welcome the decision to nominate Tendulkar, but at the same time when Sourav (Ganguly) is in his top form, his name, too, should have been considered.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut demanded Bharat Ratna for Tendulkar and questioned the timing of the nomination. "…is Sachin being used to divert attention from the problems plaguing the Congress?" he asked.
The cricket fraternity aired its misgivings. "Hope he does not suffer the same fate as another legend, Amitabh Bachchan, politics is a big game," said former India captain and coach Ajit Wadekar.
There was a lot of cricket left in Tendulkar, said former left-arm bowler Karsan Ghavri. "He had only said he is not going to retire soon. But, my fear is how will he divide his time and responsibilities."
Tendulkar's move has taken Madan Lal by surprise.
"The kind of person Sachin is, we never expected him to take up politics," said the member of the 1983 world cup winning team.