Former MP Ram Shakal, RSS thinker Rakesh Sinha, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh and stone artist Raghunath Mohapatra were today nominated to the Rajya Sabha by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The President, on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, nominated these personalities to fill in the four vacancies left by former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, actor Rekha, businesswoman Anu Agha and former Attorney General of India K Parasaran.
RSS thinker Rakesh Sinha is the founder and honorary director of the Delhi-based think-tank India Policy Foundation and teaches political science at Delhi University's Motilal Nehru college. He features prominently in media representing the RSS in debate panels.
He is also a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).
Sonal Mansingh is among India's foremost exponents of Indian classical dance. She has been performing Bharatnatyam and Odissi for over six decades and is also a well-known choreographer, teacher, orator and social activist. Mansingh founded the Centre for Indian Classical Dances in Delhi in 1977.
A car accident in 1975 almost put a break to Sonal's dancing career when she was but thirty-years-old. Eight months after the accident, she was dancing again.
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Sonal was the youngest recipient of Padma Bhushan in 1992. In 2003, she became the first Indian woman dancer to be awarded with Padma Vibhushan
Ram Shakal has been a three-time member of the Lok Sabha, representing the Robertsganj constituency of Uttar Pradesh.
The nomination by the President described him as "an eminent people's leader..who has devoted his life for the welfare and well-being of the Dalit community. A farmer leader, he is widely respected for championing the cause of farmers, labourers and migrants."
His interests lies in listening to bhajans and fighting for the cause of dalits and farmers, according to his profile at the Lok Sabha website.
Mohapatra is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Shree in 1975
Practicing since 1959, he has trained over 2,000 students. Mohapatra has contributed to the preservation of traditional sculpture and ancient monuments and has worked on the beautification of the Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri.
His famous works include a 6-feet-high statue of the Sun God carved in grey sandstone, in the Central Hall of Parliament; and the Wooden Buddha, Buddha Temple, Paris.
Article 80(1)(a) of the Constitution provides that the president can nominate to the Rajya Sabha 12 persons having special knowledge, or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art and social service.
(Inputs from agencies)
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