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June 4, 2012
Sachin Tendulkar has officially become a Member of Parliament after taking oath at a ceremony in Delhi. He had been nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, in April and has become the first active India sportsperson to become an MP.
Tendulkar was named as one of the 12 presidential nominees for Rajya Sabha membership that is reserved for those persons "having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service". A Rajya Sabha MP's tenure is six years.
After the ceremony, Tendulkar said his cricket career would remain top priority. "I'm here because of my cricketing career," he said. "I can't take any focus away from my cricket that is where it all started for me... as and when there is time in between, I will look at other things, how I can help and bring in whatever changes not only (for) cricket but all other sports demand."
Tendulkar also said that as MP he would look to improve not just cricket but other sports as well. "I think I'm in a better position, not only to help cricket but also other sports in the country which is really important, it means a lot to me," he said. "I'd be happy if I'm remembered as someone who has contributed to all sports in India rather than just my cricket statistics, that would be fantastic."
The swearing-in ceremony was held in the chamber of Hamid Ansari, the vice-president of India, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. NDTV reported that while few MPs were around as the parliament was not in session, the parliament staff had lined the corridors in anticipation of Tendulkar's arrival. Accompanied by wife Anjali to the function, Tendulkar read out his oath in formal Hindi. The ceremony lasted longer than the normal hour, vice-president Ansari telling Tendulkar after the formal signing-in, that he was a cricket enthusiast. Tendulkar in turn enquired about the functioning of parliament.
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