Bharat Ratna: How Manmohan Singh govt dumped Dhyan Chand for Sachin

Long after it has been dethroned by Narendra Modi and BJP, the Manmohan Singh government continues to face flak. The latest bit of information to have left them red-faced is how allegedly the PMO chose Sachin Tendulkar over hockey legend Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna.

According to an exclusive report by India Today, Headlines Today has accessed information which reveals that late hockey player Dhyan Chand was being considered to be awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 2013. However, in a last-minute, hurried change, the award was given to Tendulkar.

Sachin Tendulkar. AFP.

Sachin Tendulkar. AFP.

The report says that Dhyan Chand's name was suggested on 16 July by then sports minister Jitendra Singh and continued to be in the radar till late August. However, in November the Prime Minister's Office sent a note to the sports ministry demanding Tendulkar's bio within a day.

India Today reports: "The UPA government's desperation can be gauged by the fact that it was able to get the approval for Rao and Tendulkar for the Bharat Ratna on the same day from the Election Commission. Incidentally, it was the last day of Sachin's cricketing career."

While the report doesn't ascribe a reason behind the decision, one can guess why the government must have been desperate to give Tendulkar the award last year. Given the dire straits it was in and how influential a youth icon Sachin Tendulkar is, awarding the cricketer would help the government tap into mass youth sentiment. That the move didn't yield the desired result in the polls, is a different story altogether.

Read the complete India Today story here.

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