Karnataka Assembly paid rich tributes to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and renowned scientist CNR Rao on being awarded Bharat Ratna as the winter session of the state legislature began here on Monday.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Tendulkar was the only cricketer in the world to have played the sport for 24-long years and registered several records which would be difficult for anyone to break.

“Cricket is Tendulkar, Tendulkar is cricket. He has cracked 51 Test hundreds and 49 ODI centuries, an unmatched achievement,” he added.

The retirement of Tendulkar from international cricket has created a void, Siddaramaiah said. “I did not play cricket but watch it. However, I took interest to watch the sport whenever Tendulkar came into bat,” he added.

Opposition JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy also showered praise on Tendulkar and said the maestro rightly deserved the epithet of “God of Cricket.”

Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said the news of Tendulkar’s retirement cast sadness over people, thus reflecting the greatness of the maestro.

Karnataka Janata Paksha President B S Yeddyurappa said Tendulkar increased the popularity of cricket through his achievements.

Siddaramaiah said CNR Rao richly deserves Bharat Ratna and this has brought laurels to the country, especially Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy said Rao has brought honour and pride to the state by his achievements in scientific field. “On several occasions, Rao has shown commitment to Karnataka and this quality I hope should be reflected in each one of us.”

Shettar said the central and state governments should take cognisance of the report submitted by Rao seeking more funds for scientific research in 2010.

Yeddyurappa requested the Chief Minister to utilise Rao’s expertise to create scientific manpower.

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