President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday nominated Ram Shakal, Sonal Mansingh, Rakesh Sinha and Raghunath Mohapatra as members of the Rajya Sabha.
Article 80(1)(a) of the Constitution, read with Article 80(3), provides that the President can nominate to the Rajya Sabha 12 persons having special knowledge or practical experience in the fields of literature, science, art and social service.
There were currently only eight nominated members in the Rajya Sabha, and hence, four vacancies.
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”, said an official release.
It added that he was widely respected for championing the cause of farmers, labourers and migrants. He has also been a three-time MP, representing the Robertsganj constituency of U.P.
Dr. Sinha is a Delhi-based academic known to be close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He is the founder and honorary director of the think tank India Policy Foundation, teaches at Motilal Nehru College of Delhi University, is a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and also a biographer of RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar.
Dr. Sinha told The Hindu over phone that as a doctoral student, he had done research on the CPI(M).
Mr. Mohapatra is considered an authority on stone carving. “Practising since 1959, he has trained over 2,000 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,” said the release. “His famous works include a six-foot-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 an exponents of Indian classical dance. The release said, “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.”