Two signed letters from the Prime Minister's Office were forwarded to the president on November 15, 2013 and President Pranab Mukherjee approved it on the same day © PTI
Two signed letters from the Prime Minister’s Office were forwarded to the president on November 15, 2013 and President Pranab Mukherjee approved it on the same day © PTI

Aug 1, 2014

 

A Right to Information (RTI) request filed to the Prime Minster’s Office (PMO) has revealed that Dhyan Chand was the only sportsperson whose name was recommended for Bharat Ratna. A report by Mumbaiwalla suggests that Congress had taken a last-minute decision to quickly ensure Sachin Tendulkar‘s nomination ahead of his last day in Test cricket on November 16, 2013 to possibly cash in on public sentiment ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

 

The usual protocol for nomination involves a recommendation for the candidate is sent. Even the Prime Minister is free to nominate a candidate of his choice. Initially, it was hockey legend Dhyan Chand who was supposed to be recognised with India’s highest civilian award. The recommendation for Dhyan Chand was sent by the sports minister Jitendra Singh in July 2013. By August, the process was almost cleared awarding him Bharat Ratna. The announcement regarding Bharat Ratna is usually done in the month of December which was not the same in Tendulkar’s case.

 

How the process for Tendulkar’s nomination unfolded: However, there is no clear indication from where the process to nominate Tendulkar for Bharat Ratna originated. According to the report published on Mumbaiwalla.com, — which claims to have the documents from the PMO — the process started on November 14, 2013 when the PMO sent a note to the sports ministry marked ‘Urgent: Out Today’ seeking a bio-data of Tendulkar. The ministry duly delivered the bio-data by evening.

 

By evening, the Prime Minister was sent a final note and within no time, two signed letters from the PMO were forwarded to the president on November 15, 2013. The second letter in this case was that of Prof. CNR Rao who was recommended for Bharat Ratna by Dr. Kasturirangan, the scientific advisor to the PMO. President Pranab Mukherjee approved it on the same day. Coincidently, it was the same day when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had decided to attend Tendulkar’s 200th and final Test at Wankhede Stadium

 

The report concludes mentioning that by the time Rahul was inside the stadium, all the processes were completed in a hurry. The decision to award Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar and Prof. CNR Rao was announced on November 16, 2013, the day the Little Master last played for India.