New Delhi: Political class and cricketing fraternity were divided today over Sachin Tendulkar's nomination to the Rajya Sabha with some welcoming it and others not liking the idea of the active sports icon entering the political arena.

Opposition even attacked the timing of the decision to nominate Tendulkar to the House of Elders, saying it could be aimed at diverting attention from problems plaguing the government.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, BSP chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhaya and Congress leaders Satyavrat Chaturvedi and Raj Babbar welcomed the move.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Tendulkar should be given the Bharat Ratna but questioned the timing of his nomination to the Rajya Sabha.

Former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said he was "shocked" at hearing the news while another former international player Aakash Chopra hoped Tendulkar would use his Parliament membership to bring about change in sports.

Raut said, "Sachin is still on the field and has not retired. So why is he not being nominated for Bharat Ratna? And if Sachin is being used to divert attention from the problems plaguing Congress, then such politics should not be practised by them. Anything that Congress does is inspired by politics. Sachin is above politics."

Mayawati, a Rajya Sabha member, welcomed Tendulkar's nomination, but took a dig at Congress, saying people "know very well the intentions of the Congress party."

She said people from all walks of life enter Parliament and hoped the master-blaster proves himself in the Upper House like he has done in the cricketing world.

Chaturvedi rubbished the Opposition charge that Tendulkar has been nominated to divert attention.

"The Government, country and Parliament are above any individual. One person can neither build nor destroy the fate of a party or a government. The sooner this confusion is removed, the better. The kind of mindset Shiv Sena has, it can say anything," Chaturvedi said.

The Congress leader maintained that nominated members have also contributed immensely to Rajya Sabha.

"I have seen some nominated members who have made a lot of contribution. Can anybody ignore the contribution made by M S Swaminathan or Shabana Azmi? On the other hand, there were some who visited only once in a blue moon," he said.

Commenting on the development, the Lok Sabha Speaker said, "We will get to see how he performs his role in Parliament. I welcome his nomination to the Rajya Sabha."

Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "It is a good decision to encourage to sports person. He is a big name."

Describing it as "one of the finest decisions", Trinamool leader and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, "It will inspire a lot of young people."

However, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta differed from his colleagues in the Rajya Sabha on Tendulkar's nomination.

"It should not be seen as if the government is only patronising cricket. There are so many other sports and sports persons, besides cricket, about which the government needs to think seriously," he said.

"I welcome the decision to nominate Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. But at the same time when Sourav is in his top form, his name too should have been considered," he said.

Manjrekar, who played with Tendulkar, said he was "actually shocked by the story itself. First by the nomination as it came without any warning. And that Sachin has accepted it is even more shocking."

He, however, said that Tendulkar could find time to take part in Parliament proceedings if he wants to.

(Agencies)