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Anand deserves Bharat Ratna but final call PM's: Maken

New Delhi, May 31 - Sports Minister Ajay Maken Thursday said five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand was a deserving candidate for Bharat Ratna but it was for the prime minister to decide on whom to accord India's highest civilian award.

"It is great that sportsperson were included in the criteria list for Bharat Ratna last year and it will be the biggest moment for us (ministry) when the Bharat Ratna is bestowed upon an athlete," Maken told reporters here a day after Anand beat Boris Gelfand of Israel in Moscow for his fifth world crown.

"It is without doubt a huge achievement (Anand's). But as far as the award is concerned, whether it is an active or a former sportsperson, the prime minister will take the final call."

Maken played down the low-key celebration of Anand's triumph when asked about the extravagant show put up for IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Kolkata.

"No major celebration happened when Chennai Super Kings won IPL earlier. I don't know the reason for KKR's huge celebrations, may be this is how they like to express themselves."

"We have a set rule for rewarding athletes based on their achievement and we have done that in the case of Anand," said Maken referring to Rs.10 lakh cash award announced for the Grandmaster.


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