Khargone, Tarak Kumar Parkar, 61, a retired Madhya Pradesh policeman, set off on a journey on foot to Delhi with a Tricolour in his hand to demand Bharat Ratna for hockey icon Dhyan Chand, here on Sunday.
Parkar was given a warm send off by Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Pande at the Khargone DRP line.
Parkar, who will cover a distance of 1,150 km, hopes to mobilise public opinion in favour of his sporting idol.
He believes Dhyan Chand, who remains the greatest player to have played the game and won for the country three gold medals, should not be denied Bharat Ratna now that it had also been awarded to another sports icon Sachin Tendulkar.
Parkar said while the country was doing better in sports now it still lagged behind in international arena because players didn’t get the respect they deserved.
The government should not have taken so long to confer the honour on Major Dhyan Chand, he said.
Pandey and others who had gathered to send Parkar off wished the government would accept the demand.