Amidst chances of contest for Deputy Chairman’s post, government nominates four to Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, the government on Saturday nominated four personalities including classical dancer Sonal Mansingh and RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha, to the Rajya Sabha.

The other two are eminent sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra and Dalit activist and former MP Ram Shakal.

Rakesh Sinha, who represents the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) point of view in TV debates, is the Founder and Director of the Delhi-based think-tank ‘India Policy Foundation’. He is an Associate Professor in Motilal Nehru College, Delhi University. Sinha is also currently a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Mansingh is among India’s foremost exponents of the Bharat Natyam and Odissi dance forms. She is also a well-known choreographer, teacher, orator and social activist.

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Mohapatra is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. 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 six feet high statue of the Sun God carved in grey sandstone in the Central Hall of Parliament; and the Wooden Buddha, Buddha Temple, Paris.

Shakal, a three-time MP and farmer leader from Uttar Pradesh, is known widely respected for championing the cause of labourers, migrants and the Dalit community.

The Rajya Sabha is set to elect its Deputy Chairman in the coming session and there are chances of a contest between the opposition and government candidates. The post fell vacant vacant after the retirement of P.J. Kurien on July 1.

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While on the one hand the government has been trying to avoid a contest, it is also making behind the curtain preparations for a possible contest.

The vacancies for the Rajya Sabha seats arose following the retirement of actress Rekha and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar among others.

Under Article 80(1)(a) of the Constitution provides that the President can nominate to the Rajya Sabha 12 persons 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.

–IANS

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