If he accepts, Tendulkar will be the first active sportsman and cricketer to enter Upper House

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar is all set to begin a new innings as a member of the House of Elders in Parliament.

Tendulkar, who turned 39 this week, will enter the Rajya Sabha along with Bollywood actress of yesteryear Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga.

The nomination of the three eminent personalities was approved on Thursday night by President Pratibha Patil under Article 80 of the Constitution. It allows the President to nominate 12 members to the 250-member Upper House.

The names of Tendulkar, who has broken almost all world records in cricket and who last month notched up his 100th international century; Rekha, who won accolades for playing a variety of roles in the Hindi cinema in the 1980s, and social worker Aga were sent by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Home Ministry on Wednesday for approval by the President.

Seventy-year-old Aga, former chairperson of Thermax Industries, is a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council.

There has been a long-standing demand from several quarters for conferring the country's highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, on Tendulkar for his contribution to cricket. He enjoys a phenomenal fan following not only in India but also in many other countries. He scored the historic 100{+t}{+h} international hundred against Bangladesh in Dhaka last month.

Earlier in the day, Tendulkar, accompanied by wife Anjali, called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Reacting to reports of Tendulkar's nomination, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad, himself a Rajya Sabha member, said: “Tendulkar is a great player, we are proud of him. If he is nominated, surely he will devote some time to Parliament.”

In the recent past, well-known film personalities, including Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen and Lata Mangeshkar have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha. It now has seven nominated members. As of today, there are five vacancies. Since 1952, 118 eminent persons have been nominated.

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