Bhopal: Stroking up yet another controversy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have come up with the view that hockey legend late Major Dhyan Chand should be preferred over cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar for the coveted Bharat Ratna award.

Soon after BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi’s remark in this regard, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan too has come out in support of the legendry centre-forward of Indian hockey.

Barely few days back the Union Home Ministry had recommended the inclusion of sports as a category for the Bharat Ratna awards. The issue has generated a nationwide attention, as several prominent personalities including politicians openly supported Tendulkar’s name for the award. After India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the issue has become even more debated.

Talking to reporters on Sunday, Chauhan said, “No doubt Tendulkar is an extraordinary player and has a great fan following, but Major Dhyan Chand has contributed a lot for the Indian hockey. Therefore, Dhyan Chand should be conferred with the Bharat Ratna before Tendulkar.”

Union Sports Minister (Independent Charge) Ajay Maken had earlier written to Home Minister P Chidambaram seeking the inclusion of sports as a category for the Bharat Ratna.

JPN/Bureau