Has Congress violated poll conduct by wooing Sachin Tendulkar fans?

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New Delhi, Nov 20: Did the Congress violate the poll code of conduct by announcing Bharat Ratna award for ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who retired recently? Former Union sports minister Ajay Maken had once tried to make Tendulkar eligible for the award even though no sportsperson was ever conferred with it but the Union home ministry was not in its favour.

Now, with the announcement coming fast, it has been questioned whether the Congress did it to please millions of Tendulkar's fans, who form a major part of the votebank in this country.

The opposition has accused the Congress-led UPA of trying to make use of the cricketer's huge popularity during the crucial polls. Right to information (RTI) activists have alleged that the Congress tried to influence the voters' minds in the five states where assembly polls are currently underway and hence violated the poll code of conduct.

According to a report published in Anandabazaar Patrika on Wednesday, the Union home ministry admitted while replying to an RTI query that it did not accept Maken's proposal of including sports as a criterion for Bharat Ratna. Taking such a move would lead to rise of similar demands from other fields as well, the ministry officials had felt then.

The decision was taken this time by the top political leadership

Then why has the two-year-old decision been changed now? According to the home ministry sources, the decision which was taken in 2011 was an administrative one but this time, it is a decision taken by the political leadership, said the report. It was also said that the bureaucracy was never taken into confidence for making the decision of awarding Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar.

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