New Delhi | President Pranab Mukherjee has nominated pro-BJP Malayalam film actor Suresh Gopi to Rajya Sabha along with five other personalities from different fields.
Subramanian Swamy and cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, both BJP leaders, as well as Narendra Jadhav, member of erstwhile National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, journalist Swapan Dasgupta and international boxer Mary Kom were also nominated to the Upper House of Parliament following a recommendation of the Narendra Modi government, a Home Ministry spokesperson said here Friday. He said a formal notification regarding their nomination to the Upper House would be issued shortly. The President recommends the names of the nominated members drawn from fields such as literature, science, sports, art and social service on the advice of the government.
Suresh Gopi’s nomination comes long after his name was considered to the chairmanship of the National Film Development Corporation. A known supporter of BJP in the last few years, the ‘action hero’ in Malayalam cinema is currently actively campaigning for BJP candidates in the upcoming Kerala Assembly polls.
Swamy, a Harvard-educated economist, was a former Union Minister for Commerce and Law. He was also a former member of the Planning Commission. 66-year-old Swamy, a known baiter of Nehru-Gandhi family, was one of the petitioners in the 2G spectrum scam. He had joined BJP a few years ago.
Sidhu, the three-time Lok Sabha member of BJP from Amritsar, was given a Rajya Sabha seat apparently to stop him from joining Aaam Aadmi Party, which was reportedly planning to project him as chief ministerial candidate for Punjab Assembly polls in 2017. The 52-year-old former cricketer had made way for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to contest from Amritsar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. However, Jaitley had lost the election.
62-year-old Jadhav, an economist, was a member of Sonia Gandhi-led NAC during the UPA tenure from 2010 to 2014. Besides NAC membership, Jadhav had also held several positions. He was a member of Planning Commission from 2009 to 2014 and Vice Chancellor of the University of Pune. He is a prolific writer in three languages – Marathi, English and Hindi – and credited with writing and editing more than 30 books.
Swapan Dasgupta, a known BJP sympathiser, is a senior journalist and has held different editorial posts at The Statesman, The Times of India and India Today besides others. 60-year-old Dasguptawas awarded with Padma Bhushan last year. He regularly appears in political debates in electronic media, mostly arguing for the Modi government.
33-year-old Mary Kom, who hails from Manipur, is a five-time world amateur boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. She was picked to ensure representation from Northeastern states.