Nominated because of contribution to sport - Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar has said that his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of Parliament, was due to his contribution to sport and no other reason, and affirmed that he would not be trading cricket for politics. His comments, at a function in Pune, came amid a public debate over his nomination.
"I have played cricket for 22 and a half years and I understand that I was nominated because of this reason. I am not a politician," Tendulkar said. "There are many responsibilities on me. I would definitely like to contribute in the field of sports because that is my expertise."
Tendulkar, 39, said he hoped to silence critics who questioned how he could balance his sporting commitments with his duties as an MP. "When you get nominated because of your contribution in your field, it's an honour. I was excited to be nominated. I am a sportsman and will always remain one," Tendulkar said.
He met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 26 and was offered one of the 12 seats in the nominated category. He accepted the offer of a nomination, which was then formally approved by the Indian President. "I am not going to enter politics giving up cricket, which is my life. I will continue to play cricket," Tendulkar said.
He is the first sportsman to be nominated in this category, which has no election process. (Former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey, who took oath as a Rajya Sabha in April, was elected.) Previous nominated MPs include the musician Ravi Shankar, the singer Lata Mangeshkar and the artist MF Husain.
His nomination has been criticised on several grounds, chiefly his relative inexperience in public affairs.