Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the greatest-ever batsman of the modern era, has officially made his Rajya Sabha debut today.
Tendulkar, the first active sportsperson in the Rajya Sabha, took his oath as Member of Parliament (MP) in the chamber of Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari. Tendulkar was accompanied by his wife Anjali.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanawamy and a few other leaders were also present on the occasion.
After being sworn in, Tendulkar said he will continue to play cricket, and the sport would be his primary focus. Tendulkar also said he needs help from his fellow MPs to overcome obstacles and added he wants to be remembered as someone who worked for all sports. "I'll see what I can do for sports," Tendulkar said.
"In the last 22 years of my international career, cricket has given me so much and I also wanted to give something back to cricket in the latter half of my life. Today with the nomination, I am in a better position not only to help cricket but also other sports. It means a lot to me. I will try to help other sports," he said.
He also stated that he would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to the country and not just cricket statistics. "I will be happy if I am remembered as someone who contributed to my country, rather than just cricket statistics. That would be fantastic."
On being asked whether he will be able to give enough time to his duties as MP, Tendulkar replied: “I am a nominee, and I did not go to anyone saying I want to become a Rajya Sabha member. It is an honour which I accept with full respect."
“I am here because of my cricketing career and I cannot take any focus away from cricket because that is where it all started for me."
Tendulkar also said that he will focus on his game, and as and when he gets time he would contribute not just for cricket but for other sports as well.
"At this moment my focus will be on cricket, and as and when, there is time in between, I will look at other things, and see how I can help and bring in whatever changes.... not only cricket but all other sports."
The Congress-led government nominated Tendulkar, Bollywood actress Rekha and business leader Anu Aga to the Rajya Sabha on April 27. A couple of days after his nomination, UnionHome Minister P Chidambaram said Tendulkar's nomination to the Rajya Sabha is perfectly valid under the provisions of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court on May 14 also declined to entertain a petition challenging the nomination of Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha, and asked the petitioner to move the appropriate high court to raise his contention.
Tendulkar is the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and one-day international cricket. He is the first player to score a double century in ODI cricket as well as theonly batsman to have 100 international centuries to his name.
Yesterday, world chess champion Viswanathan Anand said Tendulkar serving as Rajya Sabha member would be a big step in his life and wished the cricket legend to enjoy his new role; while India's cricket captain MS Dhoni also said the master batsman will do well as a Rajya Sabha member. “This (Rajya Sabha) is a new avenue for him and I am sure he will do well and contribute there also,” Dhoni said.
(Yahoo! Cricket with agency inputs)
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