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Apr 27, 2012 at 04:42pm IST

Is Sachin Tendulkar being used as a political pawn by Congress?

New Delhi: The nomination of legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has sparked a political slugfest with the opposition parties questioning the timing of the move by the government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena have said that the timing of the nomination suggests that it is aimed at distracting attention from scams.

During a discussion with IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Shiv Sena Rahul Narvekar said, "Sachin deserves this but the timing of his nomination is aimed at distracting people's attention from various scams."

However, the allegation was dismissed by the Congress as party MP Sanjay Nirupam said "Sachin's nomination has nothing to do with politics".

Meanwhile, BJP MP Kirti Azad questioned if Sachin would be able to devote time to the Upper House of Parliament.

"Sachin is an icon and apolitical but will he find time for Rajya Sabha since he is playing?" asked Azad.

Further, the Shiv Sena said the decision was taken in hurry, as Sachin should have first been given the Bharat Ratna.

"The government has not given Bharat Ratna that he truly deserves, but it was in a hurry to nominate him to Rajya Sabha," said Narvekar.

Reacting to it, Nirupam said that it was the prerogative of the government to decide who it wants to send to the Rajya Sabha.

Nirupam also said that the meeting between batting maestro and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi should not be politicised.

He, however, reiterated that the Congress would welcome Sachin if he wished to join the party.

Though the move by the Congress has been welcomed across the political spectrum, questions are also being raised about the timing of the announcement. It comes at a time when the Congress and its president Sonia Gandhi are being ambushed by the Opposition on the floor of the House over the Bofors controversy. Sources say that the Congress is hoping that the feel good news will help deflect the criticism and attacks.