Pradhan meets RS nominee in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday met sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra who has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Yesterday, Pradhan met classical dancer Sonal Mansingh who has also been nominated to the Upper House.

“Happy that after 66 years two eminent persons have been nominated to Rajya Sabha from Odisha. Yesterday, I talked to Sonal Mansingh and greeted her over phone. It’s a proud moment for Odisha that a sculptor and classical dancer will represent Odisha in Delhi,” Pradhan told reporters here.

Yesterday, President Ram Nath Kovind had announced four nominations to the Rajya Sabha.

The list of nominees for the upper house includes farmer leader and former MP Ram Shakal, sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Rakesh Sinha.

Four seats got vacated after the retirement of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, actress Rekha, social activist Anu Aga and lawyer K. Parasaran.

Ram Shakal is an eminent people’s leader and a 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. He has also been a three-time MP representing Robertsganj constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Raghunath Mohapatra is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. Practising 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 Puri Jagannath Temple. 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 in the Buddha Temple in 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.

Rakesh Sinha is the founder and Honorary Director of the Delhi-based think-tank, India Policy Foundation. Sinha, a Professor of Motilal Nehru College of Delhi University, is also a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research. He is a regular columnist in a range of newspapers.

Meanwhile, reflecting on the appointments, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told ANI, “We thank the government of India for nominating an Odissi dancer and Raghunath Mohapatra who is an Odhiya”. (ANI)