PM and other leaders congratulate Tendulkar for Bharat Ratna

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New Delhi, Nov 16: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today joined the nation in congratulating Sachin Tendulkar for a glorious career, which ended with his 200th Test in Mumbai today, and also for being conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.

The Prime Minister personally called the batting icon and wished him well for the future. Later, the PM's Office said in a statement that he hoped Tendulkar would continue to contribute in the field of sport and serve the nation in future also.

The decision to award Tendulkar came hours within his retirement

The 40-year-old Tendulkar walked into sunset after the Mumbai Test against the West Indies, which ended in less than three days today. Hours after his retirement, the government announced that Tendulkar, along with eminent scientist C N R Rao, would be conferred with the Bharat Ratna.

"The Prime Minister has congratulated Prof C N R Rao and Sachin Tendulkar on their being conferred the Bharat Ratna. He hoped Tendulkar would continue his association with the world of sport and the people and renew his service to the nation," the PMO said in a statement.

"Dr Manmohan Singh telephoned Prof Rao and wished him many more years of continued service to nation and the world of science," the statement added. But there was a minor glitch before the pleasantries were exchanged between the PM and Tendulkar. Apparently, Tendulkar's phone was so busy due to an outpouring of wishes that he was unaware that Singh had been trying to call him. Singh then got in touch with BCCI vice-President Rajeev Shukla, who is also a Congress MP, to get through to Tendulkar.

Shukla told Tendulkar to be available for the call from the top office. "The Prime Minister wanted to talk to Tendulkar on his retirement and wish him well for the future," Shukla said.

Leaders across the political spectrum, including Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Narendra Modi, Naveen Patnaik and those from Maharashtra congratulated the ace cricketer for getting the coveted award.

PTI

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