The ton of tons behind him, Sachin Tendulkar is set for a game change. The government on Thursday brought the Little Master into Rajya Sabha, nominating him along with actor Rekha and social activist-businesswoman Anu Aga.
The nomination came minutes after Tendulkar and wife Anjali met Sonia Gandhi at her residence, a meeting party leaders said was actually for the Congress president to congratulate the 39-year-old on completing 100 international tons.
Tendulkar is in the Capital for Friday’s IPL clash between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils.
Officials said the decision — which came as a breather for a government under attack in Parliament over Bofors — was taken much earlier.
It will also counter the clamour for a Bharat Ratna, the country’s top civilian award, for Tendulkar, the highest run-getter in Test and ODI cricket.
By Thursday evening, the President had approved the nominations of Tendulkar, Aga and Rekha, on the Prime Minister’s recommendations.
The President can nominate 12 Rajya Sabha members who excel in the fields of literature, science, art, social service etc.
Tendulkar is the second sportsperson in the House after former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey was sworn in earlier this week. Rekha will find a familiar face in colleague Jaya Bachchan.
"Tendulkar is a great player, we are proud of him. If he is being nominated, surely he will devote some time to Parliament," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat shared the view, saying the "government should nominate people like Sachin Tendulkar and other eminent persons from different walks of life".
Reports of his nomination are likely to spark another round of speculation about his immediate future, though Tendulkar has made clear he has no plans to retire. On completing his ton of tons, he had even hinted at playing the next world cup in 2015.
Tendulkar made his international debut in 1989 and has played more Tests (188) and ODIs (463) than any other player.