NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday nominated four noted personalities to the Rajya Sabha - the Upper House of Parliament. Among those who have been nominated to the Upper House of Parliament include farmer leader Ram Shakal, author and columnist Rakesh Sinha, sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra and classical dancer Sonal Mansingh.
The Article 80 of the Constitution empowers the President of India to nominate up to 12 persons to the Rajya Sabha. At present, there were eight nominated members in the Rajya Sabha, and hence, four vacancies.
Known for championing the causes of farmers, labourers and migrants, Ram Shakal is a public representative from Uttar Pradesh. He has worked immensely for the welfare of the Dalit community. The son of a farmer, Shakal has also been a three-time Member of Parliament. He has represented Robertsganj Lok Sabha Constituency of Uttar Pradesh.
The founder and honorary director of the Delhi-based think-tank 'India Policy Foundation', Rakesh Sinha is a respected and widely read author. Associated with the Motilal Nehru College of Delhi University as a professor, he is also currently a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research. He is a regular columnist and writes on pressing issues.
Sonal Mansingh is a prominent Indian classical dancer who specializes in Bharatanatyam and Odissi. SA trained dancer for over six decades, Sonal Mansingh is also a well-known choreographer, teacher, orator and social activist. She is the founder of the Centre for Indian Classical Dances in Delhi. Sonal Mansingh is also a recipient of Padma Vibhushan (2003), Padma Bhushan (1992), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Dance – Odissi.
Raghunath Mohapatra is a sculptor of an international repute. Practicing 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 famous Sri Jagannath Temple in Odisha's 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.
All four newly nominated members of the Rajya Sabha will be administered the oath during the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament which will commence from July 18 and last till August 10. Each member of Rajya Sabha is elected for a term of six years.