The chances of a sportsperson, probably cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, getting the Bharat Ratna have brightened, with the home ministry backing the suggestion to include sports as a category for the award of India's topmost civilian award, sources said.
"Though there is nothing to prevent a sportsperson from being given Bharat Ratna at present, the latest communication would put the record clearer," a senior official told IANS Saturday.
He pointed out that sportspersons have been given awards up to Padma Vibhushan. "That way, nothing can block a sportsman getting the topmost award," he said.
Sources said the home ministry has sent a communication to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) supporting the recommendation to include sports among the categories to be considered for awarding the Bharat Ratna.
The sports ministry had recently sent a letter to the home ministry, urging that sports be included for Bharat Ratna.
The ministry recommendation comes in the wake of appeals by several sports associations that Sachin Tendulkar be considered for the highest award of the country.
At present, the Bharat Ratna is awarded for "exceptional services towards advancement of art, literature and science, and in recognition of public service of the highest order".