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Pramod Mahajan wanted to be the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian politics

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 3 (UNI) Pramod Mahajan may have earned his spurs as BJP's generation next leader but with his demise today, the world of sport lost a cricket aficionado who wanted to be remembered as the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian politics.

In a recent television interview, Mr Mahajan was asked about his evolving role in his party and in reply, the leader drew a simile with Sachin Tendulkar's role in Team India.

''I want to be what Sachin Tendulkar is to Team India. I know there will be Sourav Ganguly or Rahul Dravid (to lead the team) but I would prefer to be (a mentor like) Sachin Tendulkar,'' he said.

Mr Mahajan shared a good rapport with his fellow Mumbaikar and then as the Communication Minister, was instrumental in waiving the Rs 1.5 crore import duty when Sachin was gifted a Ferrari by automobile giant Fiat.

However, the decision to waive the duty -- Mr Mahajan called it a 'small gesture' from the then Government on the eve of Sachin's 100th Test -- sparked off a national debate and Mr Mahajan, along with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, and Sachin himself was named in a PIL at the Bombay High Court.

Mr Mahajan was upset by the protest over the waiver and said, ''People must understand that we cannot have a second Sachin.

He is unique. I am a little surprised over the controversy this waiving of the duty has raised.'' He was also bold enough to admit that he was instrumental behind the waiver.

''Sachin Tendulkar pays income tax, house tax and every other tax and is not exempted from any kind of tax. I think this car should not be considered as part of his usual earnings,'' he said.

With reports that Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar's names featured in Lashker-e-Taiba's hit list, Mr Mahajan was of the view that India's historic 2004 tour of Pakistan had to be re-examined and there couldn't be any compromise on the players' safety even though Team India eventually went ahead with the series.

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