Forty-eight hours before news emerged that Sachin Tendulkar had been nominated to the Rajya Sabha, another prominent India player had already taken his oath as member of the prestigious upper house.
Former India hockey captain and star defender Dilip Tirkey admitted the swearing-in ceremony was a nervous moment for him, but is now somewhat relieved that he’ll have company in Tendulkar, who yesterday accepted RS nomination from the ruling Congress government.
“It was a huge honour for me to share space in Parliament with some of the most respected and eminent personalities of our country like Prime Minister, Vice President and other political party big wigs. I was nervous then, but today I feel a little more confident on hearing about Sachin having accepted the invitation to the Rajya Sabha,” Tirkey told MiD DAY from New Delhi yesterday.
Though Tirkey confessed to having met Tendulkar only once before, he is now hopeful of more meetings with the batting maestro and fruitful ones at that. “I met Sachin in 1998 during the India vs Pakistan Delhi Test in 1999. It was a very brief meeting and we didn’t interact much. But now, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of chances to meet up here in Delhi,” added the 34-year-old Biju Janta Dal MP from Odisha.
More sports personalities
The Padma Shri, who is the only adivasi to have represented India at three successive Olympics (1996 Atlantta, 2000 Sydney & 2004 Athens) believed more prominent sports personalities should be brought into Parliament. “Indian sport is at the crossroads.
The Olympics is round the corner and this Indian contingent can bring in a lot of laurels from the world stage. It’s a time when Indian sport and sportspersons must be looked at very seriously. There is huge scope for the country to progress in sport in the near future,” explained Tirkey.
Tirkey’s first step is obviously to work in close conjunction with India’s Master Blaster. “Indian cricket may not need too much of a push, and I’m sure Sachin will agree with me on this.
But other sports like hockey, football, boxing, wrestling, etc must be encouraged further. Modern-thinking sportsmen like Sachin will bring in fresh ideas on how to promote Indian sport. I’m looking forward to working with Sachin in taking Indian sport forward,” Tirkey signed off.