New Delhi: Pleading the case for eminent sportspersons who have won laurels for the country at the international level, Sports Ministry has sought inclusion of sports as a category for the award of Bharat Ratna.
Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Ajay Maken has written to Home Minister P Chidambaram in this regard, asking for inclusion of sports as a separate category for the selection of Bharat Ratna award.
"Unfortunately, sports is not a separate category for the selection of awards and thus no sportsperson has yet received a Bharat Ratna. I have written to the Home Minister in this regard," said the minister.
When asked if the move comes in the wake of growing demand for conferring Bharat Ratna on cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, the Minister said, "I took this decision after I became Sports Minister. This should not be linked to anything else."
Maken said, "The Sports Ministry does not select the candidates for the Bharat Ratna award. The Prime Minister selects the awards and the President approves them. The Sports Ministry is intervening only to help the sportspersons."
On being asked which sportsperson would be the first one to get the award, the Minister said, "I would be pleased if any sportsperson gets a Bharat Ratna. If Sachin gets it, I will be happy that a sportsperson got a Bharat Ratna. The Sports Ministry`s intervention is not name specific, it is only to help include sports as a category."