New Delhi, Apr 27: A day after cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, CPI today demanded that former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly's name should also be considered for the Upper House.
“I welcome the decision to nominate Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. But at the same time when Sourav is in his top form, his name too should have been considered (for the Rajya Sabha),” CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told reporter outside Parliament.
He also said that besides film stars, writers, people associated with culture and poets should also be sent to the Upper House.
The communist leader said that since India “is a country of workers” industrialists should not be brought to the Rajya Sabha.
The government yesterday nominated Tendulkar to the Upper House along with actress of yesteryear Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut maintained that Tendulkar should be given the Bharat Ratna but questioned the timing of his nomination to Rajya Sabha.
“Sachin is still on the field and has not retired. So why is he not being nominated for Bharat Ratna? And if Sachin is being used to divert attention from the problems plaguing Congress, then such politics should not be practised by them. Anything that Congress does is inspired by politics. Sachin is above politics,” he said.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Satyavrat Chaturvedi rubbished the opposition charge that Tendulkar has been nominated to divert attention.
“The Government, country and Parliament are above any individual. One person can neither build nor destroy the fate of a party or a government. The sooner this confusion is removed, the better. The kind of mindset Shiv Sena has, it can say anything,” he said.
Chaturvedi maintained that nominated members have also contributed immensely to Rajya Sabha.
“I have seen some nominated members who have made a lot of contribution. Can anybody ignore the contribution made by M S Swaminathan or Shabana Azmi? On the other hand, there were some who visited only once in a blue moon,” he said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Mayawati (BSP), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Sudip Bandyopadhaya (TMC) and Raj Babbar (Cong) welcomed Tendulkar becoming a Rajya Sabha member.
“We will get to see how he performs his role in Parliament. I welcome his nomination to the Rajya Sabha,” Speaker Meira Kumar said.
“It is a good decision to encourage to sports person. He is a big name,” SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said. Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “This is one of the finest decisions. It will inspire a lot of young people.”
Expressing confidence that Tendulkar will contribute to the functioning of the upper House, Congress MP Raj Babbar said, “He has brought honour to the country and now it is time for the House to honour him. Claims that he is being nominated by Congress is due to a narrow mindset. He has not joined Congress.”
However, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta differed from his colleagues in the Rajya Sabha on Tendulkar's nomination.
“It should not be seen as if the government is only patronising cricket. There are so many other sports and sports persons, besides cricket, about which the government needs to think seriously,” he said.
Dasgupta also demanded that cricketer Sourav Ganguly be also nominated to the Upper House.
“I welcome the decision to nominate Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. But at the same time when Sourav is in his top form, his name too should have been considered,” he said.
The CPI leader said besides film stars, writers, people associated with culture and literature should also be sent to the Upper House.
The communist leader said since India “is a country of workers”, industrialists should not be brought to the Rajya Sabha.
From Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, an avid cricket fan, today said he was “amazed” by the storm generated by nomination of cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha.
“Amazing to see the storm that Sachin's nomination (to Rajya Sabha) has generated,” Omar wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.com.
However, Omar felt that the cricketing legend, who has almost every batting record to his name, would have preferred a Bharat Ratna to nomination to the upper house of the Parliament.
“I think he'd have preferred a Bharat Ratna after all,” the Chief Minister added.
Welcoming Sachin Tendulkar's entry into the Rajya Sabha, BSP chief Mayawati today said that people from all walks of life are entering Parliament and hoped the master-blaster prove himself in the Upper House like what he has achieved in cricket.
The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, however, took a dig at Congress, saying that people “know very well the intentions of the Congress Party (behind nominating people such as Tendulkar and film actress Rekha).”
She was responding to questions whether Congress was trying to save the image of the government by roping in people like Tendulkar and Rekha at a time when it has been hit by allegations of scams.
“People from all walks of life are entering in Parliament and Sachin is a new entry. People continue to contribute to their fields of achievement as well as Parliament. I hope Sachin will also be able to do the same,” she said.
Asked about Rekha's entry into the the Upper House, she said, “I never watch movies as all my time is spent on strengthening the base of my party.”
Indian Olympic Association today welcomed the government's nomination of Sachin Tendulkar for a Rajya Sabha seat, saying the IOA is happy that its long-standing demand to include sportspersons in the Upper House has been accepted.
“This is another feather in Sachin's cap as he has become the first sportsperson to be nominated to Rajya Sabha,” IOA Acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra said in a statement.
“IOA is happy that its long standing demand to have sportsperson nominated to Rajya Sabha has been accepted. We hope this will become a rule than exception,” he added.
Stating that sportspersons play a great role in unifying the country by their stellar performances and deserve recognition by the state, Malhotra said, “this nomination is a step towards that.”
Malhotra also applauded the election of former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey to Rajya Sabha.
“I hope that nomination and elections of these sporting icons will encourage the young sportspersons to give their best for the country, especially during the London Olympics.”
The Acting President pointed out that the IOA, on its part, has also taken a big step in giving due recognition to sportspersons by appointing three-time Olympian Ajitpal Singh as chef de mission for the upcoming London Games.
“This is the first time that a sportsperson will lead the Indian contingent in Olympics,” said Malhotra.