Former India opener Chetan Chauhan is one of the few cricketers with an active political career lasting over two decades. He has seen ups and downs along the way. In 1991 and 1998, he contested as BJP MP from Amroha, only to lose on both occasions. Though he is happy to know that Sachin Tendulkar has been offered a seat in the Rajya Sabha’s nominated category by the Prime Minister, Chauhan fears the outcome if the batting icon was to associate himself with a political party. “
If Tendulkar is being nominated in the honorary sports/culture category, it is good. It will be a matter of pride for us. It will be a big honour for him to join us in the Parliament. Mostly great people like Lata Mangeskhar and others who have been nominated in this category, haven’t been able to make that much of a difference. Sachin can change all that. “My only fear is that the stamp of a political party should not come on him. People should not think he belongs to any political party. I want him to remembered as a sportsperson first. That should be his attitude. He shouldn’t align himself with anyone. The minute he associates himself with a party, the public’s perception about him will change.
“I remember in Australia when the Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds controversy broke out, Sachin wasn’t very vocal first. But the minute he said something, people stood up and took notice. That’s the sort of power he has. Imagine what he can do sitting in Parliament?” said Chauhan, who was manager of the Indian team to Australia in 2007-08.
Chauhan reckoned Tendulkar could change the opinion of several detractors who reckon the batsman hasn’t given back to society. “Sure, he has never given any kind of impression that he wants to do something in politics. However, he does some social work. He secretly spends lot of money on charity. He’s that kind of person. “And yet, many have questioned whether he has done enough for society. This is a good opportunity for Sachin to prove them wrong. “His first task should be to fight for the cause of sportspersons in the country. He can put across the problems that sportspersons are facing. He can take many young athletes under his wing. “He can put forward the requirements needed in sports infrastructure. The Sports Ministry must consult him before taking decisions,” added Chauhan.