BCCI Vice-President and Congress MP Rajiv Shukla on Sunday rejected speculation of star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar campaigning for his party in the upcoming assembly elections, and termed such reports as “baseless”.
“Sachin Tendulkar is busy playing cricket at the moment. He is playing in the Ranji Trophy and will later play for India against the West Indies. So the reports of him campaigning for Congress candidates are completely baseless,” said Shukla over the phone.
There were reports that Tendulkar, who was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member by the ruling UPA alliance last year, might campaign for candidates of the coalition leader Congress in Madhya Pradesh, which goes to polls next month, along with four other states.
“Such stories are misleading and Sachin campaigning for us is untrue,” he said.
“He has to play matches how can he take time out for election campaigning,” he added.
Tendulkar is currently playing for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy in Haryana to prepare for his final Test series, to be played against the Caribbean side next month.
Asked if Tendulkar could campaign for the Congress in future, the Union minister said: “We can’t predict the future. Sachin is the finest cricketer in the country and after retirement he will pursue whatever he likes. We can’t influence him.”
Meanwhile in Kanpur, which is hosting one of the one-dayers between India and West Indies, Shukla, who is also the president of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association, expressed confidence that the stadium will be ready to stage the contest.
“The West Indies Cricket Board will inspect the Green Park stadium on October 29 and will take a call on it,” he said.
The final encounter of the three-match ODI series is scheduled to be held in either Kanpur or Baroda.