New Delhi, July 14: The government has nominated four member to the Rajya Sabha for their distinguished services to the the society. They included academician Rakesh Sinha, eminent Dalit leader Ram Shakal, famous dancer Sonal Mansingh and stone sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, who is internationally renowned for stone carving.
This is an exercise of the powers conferred by Article 80 of the Constitution of India to the government. On the advice of the Prime Minister, the President of India is at his pleasure nominates these names.
Rakesh Sinha is a respected and widely-read author, who is the Founder Honorary Director of the Delhi-based think-tank India Policy Foundation. Under Prof Sinha, the IPF has published several dozen of intervention papers concerning national interest that included political, social, security and many other issues. He himself is credited with authoring many books related to the RSS and related subject and is known for biography of first Sarsanghchalak of RSS K B Hedgewar. An Associate Professor at Motilal Nehu College of Delhi University, he is also currently a member of the Indian Council of Social Science and Research. He is a regular columnist in a range of newspapers besides appearing on television channels for debates on range of issues.
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 Dalits, farmers, labourers and migrants. He has also been a three-time Member of Parliament representing Robertsganj constituency of Uttar Pradesh.
Raghunath Mohapatra is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. 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 Jagannath Temple, Puri. His famous works include a six feet long statue of the Sun God carved in grey sandstone, in the Central Hall of Parliament; and the Wooden Buddha, Buddha Temple, Paris.
Sonal 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.
As per Article 80(1)(a) read with Article 80(3) of the Constitution of India provides that the President can nominate to Rajya Sabha, 12 persons having special knowledge, or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art and social service. There were, currently, eight nominated members in the Rajya Sabha, and hence, four vacancies were there to be filled.