President nominates four members to Rajya Sabha


New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday announced four nominations to Rajya Sabha to fill up the vacant seats. The nominees include former BJP MP Ram Shakal, RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha, sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra and classical dancer Sonal Mansingh. In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 80 of the Constitution of India, and on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the President made the nominations to the Upper House. Mr Shakal is an eminent people’s leader and public representative from Uttar Pradesh, 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. He has been a three-time Member of Parliament, representing Robertsganj constituency of Uttar Pradesh. Mr Sinha is a respected and widely read author and the Founder and Honorary Director of the Delhi-based think-tank “India Policy Foundation.” A Professor of Motilal Nehu College of Delhi University, he is also currently a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research. He is a regular columnist in a range of newspapers. Mr Mohapatra is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. Practising since 1959, he has trained over 2000 students. He 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. Ms Mansingh is among India’s foremost exponents of Indian Classical Dance. She has been performing Bharatnatyam and Odissi for over six decades. She is also a well-known choreographer, teacher, orator and social activist. She founded the Centre for Indian Classical Dances, in Delhi in 1977. Article 80(1)(a) read with Article 80(3) of the Constitution of India provides that the President can nominate to Rajya Sabha, 12 people having special knowledge, or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art and social service, according to a release here. There were, currently, eight nominated members in the Rajya Sabha, and hence, four vacancies.

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