New Delhi/Mumbai, Apr 28 : Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and yoga guru Swami Ramdev have demanded Bharat Ratna for cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.
Writing in his party organ Saamna, Bal Thckeray said; “If you (Congress) love Sachin so much, then why don’t you give him Bharat Ratna? ..The Congress beset with various problems is trying to divert the attention of the media and people by making Sachin a Rajya Sabha nominated member.
They (Congress) not only want to take advantage of Sachin’s popularity, but also want to reap political dividends out of this.
“The Congress is neck deep in trouble, and by merely playing the Sachin card, they (Congress) will end up having more mud on their face. ... “The Congress has stooped to low-level politics in order to wash off the damage cause by corruption scandals. ..Each and every step by the Congress is meant to exploit votebanks or is driven by self-interest... “One needs to probe why the Congress was in haste to give Sachin a Rajya Sabha membership.”
Meanwhile, in Delhi, yoga guru Ramdev today sought to find fault with the Rajya Sabha nomination to Sachin Tendulkar alleging that the “sinking” Congress might have pressurised him to accepting the honour to enhance its prestige.
Tendulkar’s nomination has provided people with an opportunity to ask the cricketer whether he will remain silent or will he speak up on issues like corruption and bringing back blackmoney stashed in tax havens, Ramdev told reporters.
“He has every right to take whatever decision he wants to take. He has hit many centuries, he has hit many sixes. But now it gives us an opportunity to knock his doors asking him whether he will remain silent or will he speak up,” he said. He said Congress has decided to nominate Tendulkar to the Upper House of Parliament to “salvage the sinking ship”.
“These nominations (that of Tendulkar and actress Rekha) are to divert attention from the real issues. Nobody will oppose honouring Sachin. People of the country have no objection about honouring him with Bharat Ratna.
“But Congress is thinking how to tag Sachin with them. So there is a politics in not giving Bharat Ratna to him. There is also politics in giving him Rajya Sabha nomination,” Ramdev said.
Asked whether he thought Tendulkar was pressurised by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and Congress into accepting the nomination, Ramdev said he had heard this from many quarters.
“It does not appear it (pressurising Sachin to accept nomination) is baseless. Sachin is a responsible citizen. He knows what is happening.
He is not a child...It is for him to decide what to do after he retires from cricket.
“We have no problem with that. But we expect that he applies his mind whether his cricket career is important or political career is important,” Ramdev said.