Cricketing icon and Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday was recognised as the national icon of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to encourage voter participation in the electoral process.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Wednesday with Tendulkar for three years at a function here in the presence of the Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, Election Commissioners Arun Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel.

As part of the three-year agreement, Tendulkar will spread voter awareness.

Tendulkar was presented with the title and recognition in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar.

The major step to encourage the voters by the poll panel comes ahead of Assembly elections in states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram later this year and Lok Sabha elections next year.

Speaking on the occasion Deputy Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar Sahoo said, “Today is a momentous occasion as legendary  cricketer Tendulkar has agreed to be the national icon for ECI, we express gratitude for that and this alliance will help the youth and urban population with the commitment of the ECI.”

“Your dedication and passion for the game of cricket has made you a role model of millions. As national icon your reach and influence will definitely amplify the efforts of the ECI to promote voter participation and awareness. We look forward to your valuable contribution and towards strengthening the pillars of democracy,” Sahoo added.

The poll panel in a statement on Tuesday said that this collaboration would mark a significant step towards leveraging Tendulkar's unparalleled impact with the youth demographic for increasing voters’ participation in the forthcoming elections, especially in General Elections 2024.

It also said that the Commission through this partnership aims to bridge the gap between citizens, especially youth and urban populations and the electoral process thereby, trying to address the challenges of urban and youth apathy. 

Last year, the Commission recognised famous actor Pankaj Tripathi as the National Icon. Earlier, during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, stalwarts like M.S.Dhoni, Aamir Khan and Mary Kom had been the poll panel's National Icons.

Tendulkar is currently a Rajya Sabha MP. Tendulkar holds several records for his performance on the 22 yard cricket pitch and is considered one of the greatest players.