The UPA government tried to rise in the eye of very ardent fan on Sachin’s shoulder and despite knowing that the award announcement will lead to dispute.
The legend has retired from the game breaking our hearts but announcement of Sachin being conferred Bharat Ratna infused joy and pride in us. Not only that, every ardent Sachin fan started admiring UPA government for such noble step where the Prime Minister of the country himself had recommended Sachin’s name to the president. The Prime Minister was also praised for the inclusion of sports in the small ring of recognized fields for the highest civilian honour.
Wait…was this the government wanted? Rising in the eye of public on the shoulder of Sachin?
In its report, leading English newspaper The Hindu has claimed that the union home ministry had opposed sport’s minister Ajay Maken’s plea to confer the cricketer Bharat Ratna.
In an RTI inquiry it was revealed that Maken, in September 2011, had written to home ministry for the inclusion of sports as “an area of recognition for the conferment for Bharat Ratna”. But the ministry rejected the suggestion saying, “Inclusion of sports as a field for Bharat Ratna may raise the issue to include other fields such as trade and industry and social work in the award category of Bharat Ratna.”
The ministry also said that while “Tendulkar deserves the highest honour […], there are several other sports person who have made our country proud, such as Dhyan Chand in hockey, Jaspal Rana in shooting, Vishwanathan Anand in Chess, PT Usha in atheletics.”
Interestingly, even after such an advisory, the government went ahead with the announcement of awarding Tendulkar with the honour.
Needless to say that it started a storm where a large section of sports faction demanded Bharat Ratna for the sports person featuring in the home ministry’s letter, especially for Dhyan Chand. However, this has been ongoing for several years, even before the Maken’s letter to the home ministry. Perhaps that’s what had prompted home ministry for such a reply.
Although the filed differs, the Bhartiya Janata Party questioned the government over ignoring former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and demanded Bharat Ratna for him too. In its battle to get Vajpayee its due, former ally JD(U) and National Conference has joined hands with BJP where Nitish Kumar and Farooq Abdullah openly showed there agreement with the party’s demands.
While it was unable to curb the voices demanding Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand, the Congress party accused BJP of politicizing the matter.
But in reality, Congress used the highest civilian honour to subtly shake the people for raising its vote bank. It politicized the award in plain sight.