A Janata Dal-United MP on Monday questioned awarding India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar instead of legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand.
"I fail to understand why Dhyan Chand was ignored and Sachin Tendulkar was given Bharat Ratna," JD-U's member of parliament Shivanand Tiwari told media persons here.
Tiwari said the ministry concerned had shortlisted the name of Dhyan Chand for giving the Bharat Ratna.
"Dhyan Chand was incredible for having taken hockey to international level for the country when there was no corporate and powerful media. His magic impressed even fascist leaders of Germany who offered him money, comfortable and luxurious life but Dhyan Chand stuck to India," he said.
"Sachin Tendulkar was not playing free of cost. Sachin has made crores of rupees by helping corporates to market cricket in the country," Tiwari said.
Tiwari said the Bharat Ratna has lost its importance now.
"It is time for a nationwide debate on Bharat Ratna and to whom it should be given. If latest trend is any indication, then it could be given to any corporate sponsored leader," Tiwari said.
After Tiwari questioned Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar, JD-U spokesperson said the party has nothing to do with Tiwari's statement.
JD-U chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, however, welcomed Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar.
Scientist C.N.R. Rao and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred the Bharat Ratna. Their names were announced Saturday, the day Sachin Tendulkar played his 200th and last Test match of his career in Mumbai.
Shiv Sena on Monday objected to senior JD-U leader Shivanand Tiwari questioning the decision to award Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, to Sachin Tendulkar.
"Even otherwise, Sachin is India's Bharat Ratna. Does Tiwari suggest we give it to Lalu Yadav instead?" Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.
"Tiwari has no right to speak on Tendulkar. Sachin is part of India's identity, Shivanand Tiwari is not," he said.
Raut also demanded that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee should also be awarded a Bharat Ratna.
"If Rajiv Gandhi can get it then why not Vajpayee?" he said. Those who are demanding the award for Vajpayee are not opposed to Sachin Tendulkar getting it, he said.