RSS thinker Rakesh Sinha, Dalit leader Ram Shakal among four nominated as Rajya Sabha MPs

President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday nominated Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh thinker Rakesh Sinha; well-known exponent of classical dance, Sonal Mansingh; stone artiste Raghunath Mohapatra, and former UP MP and Dalit leader Ram Shakal as Rajya Sabha MPs.

The Constitution provides that the President can nominate 12 MPs to Rajya Sabha with special knowledge, or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art and social service. There were, currently, eight nominated members in the Rajya Sabha.

The nominations on Saturday were made by the President on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

Ram Shakal has been a three-term MP representing Robertsganj constituency of Uttar Pradesh.

“Ram 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,” the PMO said.

Sinha is the Founder and Honorary Director of the Delhi-based think-tank India Policy Foundation and a professor at the Motilal Nehu College of Delhi University. He is also a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Mansingh has been performing Bharatnatyam and Odissi for over six decades and is among India’s foremost exponents of Indian classical dance. She founded the Centre for Indian Classical Dances in Delhi in 1977.

She is also a well-known choreographer, teacher, orator and social activist.

Mohapatra, an internationally renowned authority on stone carving, has been practising since 1959 and 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 in 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.

(With PTI inputs)

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