Political leaders support Bharat Ratna demand for Sachin Tendulkar

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New Delhi, March 3 (ANI): Exhibiting a rare unity, members of parliament cutting across party lines on Wednesday advocated the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, for cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

After witnessing Tendulkar score 200 runs, the first ever double ton in One Day International (ODI) cricket against South Africa on February 24 in Gwalior, Maharashtra chief Minister Ashok Chavan had said that the State government would recommend his name to the Central government for the Bharat Ratna award.

The support to honour Sachin with the Bharat Ratna has gained momentum in the country's political circles with members expressing their open support for his name's recommendation.

"No, this is not a political issue, parties cannot decide on this, but being a patriot and a cricket fan, I also want that Tendulkar should get Bharat Ratna. But this should be made a matter of discussion," Venkaiah Naidu, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader told reporters outside parliament in national capital.

Rahul Bajaj, Chairman of Bajaj Auto Limited and a parliamentarian said Tendulkar's contribution to the sport made him deserving of the highest honours.

"What he (Tendulkar) has done in the past 20 years, and particularly the double century in one-day cricket, which no other batsman has scored in the world, whole country is proud and happy for him, we all are happy. If he gets Bharat Ratna, I don't think anyone would have issues, one would be happy," Bajaj told reporters in New Delhi.

Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal also said the legendry cricketer could qualify for any honour.

"I don't think there's any cricketer like Sachin (Tendulkar) in the world, therefore he can get any award," he said in national capital New Delhi.

Tendulkar, who opens in one-day matches, smashed 200 not-out off 147 balls to help India post 401-3 in the allotted 50 overs.

The maiden double century guided India to a 153-run win and a series victory over South Africa.

The 36-year-old batsman holds the record for most runs in Tests (13,447) and ODIs (17,598) and most centuries in Tests (47). (ANI)

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