New Delhi: The Congress has recommended cricketer Sachin Tendulkar's name for the Rajya Sabha and is now waiting for him to respond to the same, according to sources. However, an official announcement is awaited. If Tendulkar accepts the nomination, he would be the first active sportsman and cricketer to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Sources say the Home Ministry has recommended four names including those of Tendulkar and Bollywood actress Rekha for the Rajya Sabha. There is no word from the government on other two names. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written a letter to the Home Ministry on the issue.
Sources say that the Congress has offered to nominate Tendulkar under the President's quota. The 39-year-old master blaster who has brought many a laurel to the country through his exploits in the game, and Rekha, known for her brilliant and emotional portrayals in Hindi cinema in the 80s, will become members of Parliament under a provision of the Constitution that allows the President to nominate 12 members to the Upper House.
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.
Rekha, 57, was one of the top heroines of the 80s in Hindi films and 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.
Tendulkar along with his wife Anjali met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in New Delhi.
Although officially the Congress said that Sonia wanted to meet Tendulkar and personally congratulate him on achieving the historic achievement of scoring 100 international centuries, but sources say the main agenda was his nomination for the Rajya Sabha.
Reacting to the reports of Sachin Tendulkar's proposed nomination, BJP leader Najma Heptulla said, "We are very happy that Tendulkar's name has been proposed for the Rajya Sabha."
"Tendulkar is a great player, we are proud of him. If he is being nominated, surely he would devote some time to Parliament," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
However, the proposal didn't go well with people from the cricket fraternity. Cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle said, "I don't think it is the greatest idea. He doesn't have the experience of governing or doing social work. People are trying to gain mileage out of Tendulkar."
BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Prof. Ratnakar Shetty told that the Board was happy with the government's move. "We (BCCI) are happy that Tendulkar's services as a sportsperson has been recognised. He's been a true ambassador for the country and he deserves it," he said.