President approves Tendulkar’s nomination to Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar will now play the new role of a parliamentarian with President Pratibha Patil Thursday approving his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, along with that of renowned actor Rekha and businesswoman Anu Aga.

“The president has approved the nomination of Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha and Anu Aga to the Rajya Sabha,” Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Archana Datta said.

The nomination of the three eminent personalities was approved by the President under rules that allow the nomination of 12 members to the upper house.

Tendulkar, who turned 39 Tuesday, had last month become the first batsman in cricket history to complete 100 international centuries. He scored his much awaited 100th international century in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in March.

Acclaimed in the cricketing world for his batting prowess, his exploits in the game have brought laurels to the country.

The approval of Tendulkar’s Rajya Sabha nomination came on a day he met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence.

Congress leaders said Gandhi was keen to greet the Indian cricketer on his feat of scoring 100 international centuries.

Tendulkar’s nomination to Rajya Sabha came as a surprise as many of his admirers have been wanting him to be given Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.

He is the first active cricketer to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Rekha will join ranks of Bollywood actors who have been members of the upper house, including Shatrughan Sinha and Hema Malini.

Jaya Bachchan is currently in the upper house as a member of Samjawadi Party.

Rekha was one of the top heroines of Hindi films and has won several national awards for sensitive and memorable portrayals in her films.

Film personalities who were nominated to the upper house in the past include Vyjayantimala, Nargis Dutt, Lata Mangeshkar and Sivaji Ganesan.

Aga, former chairperson of Thermax Industries and a member of the Sonia Gandhi led National Advisory Council, is a social worker.

She has written extensively on corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, women empowerment and valuing diversity in India.

Since her retirement, Aga has chosen to focus on education for the underprivileged.