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Ilaiyaraaja, P T Usha, Veerendra Heggade and Vijayendra Prasad nominated as RS members

The nominations came on a day when Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of BJP and RCP Singh of JD(U) resigned from the Union Cabinet with their Rajya Sabha terms ending on Thursday.

Ilaiyaraaja, P T Usha, Veerendra Heggade and Vijayendra Prasad. (File)

Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja, sports icon P T Usha, acclaimed screenwriter V Vijayendra Prasad and philanthropist and spiritual leader Veerendra Heggade were nominated to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The nominations came on a day when Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of BJP and RCP Singh of JD(U) resigned from the Union Cabinet with their Rajya Sabha terms ending on Thursday.

The new nominated members have had illustrious careers, receiving national and global recognition. At the same time, the nominations send a political signal, too, with the ruling BJP new RS nominations, all from south identifying southern states for its next phase of growth.

While Ilaiyaraaja hails from Tamil Nadu and Usha from Kerala, Prasad is from Telangana and Heggade from Karnataka.

In a career spanning nearly five decades, Ilaiyaraaja has composed songs in several Indian languages and won numerous awards, including the national award five times. In 2010, the maestro was awarded the Padma Bhushan and in 2018 the Padma Vibhushan.

“The creative genius of Ilaiyaraaja has enthralled people across generations. His works beautifully reflect many emotions. What is equally inspiring is his life journey – he rose from a humble background and achieved so much,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, and actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, congratulated Ilaiyaraaja for the nomination. A tweet from Raj Bhavan said the “extraordinary musical genius and inspirational life journey” of Ilaiyaraaja “have inspired and continue to inspire generations”.

Usha, popularly known as the Payyoli Express, ruled track and field events in the 1980s. She has won 11 medals in Asian Games, including four gold in the 1986 Seoul Games. She missed the medal by a whisker in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when she finished fourth.

After her retirement from competitive athletics, she started Usha School of Athletics, training more than 100 national and international-level athletes. “The remarkable PT Usha Ji is an inspiration for every Indian. Her accomplishments in sports are widely known but equally commendable is her work to mentor budding athletes over the last several years,” Modi said.

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Prasad is one of Telugu cinema’s leading screenwriters. The father of popular filmmaker SS Rajamouli, he has also worked in Tamil, Kannada and Hindi films, and is behind blockbusters such as ‘Mersal’ in Tamil, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ in Hindi, and the ‘Baahubali’ series and ‘RRR’ in Telugu. All these films were dubbed in multiple languages.

“V Vijayendra Prasad Garu has been associated with the creative world for decades. His works showcase India’s glorious culture and have made a mark globally,” Modi said.

Heggade has been the Dharmadhikari of the Dharmasthala Temple since the age of 20. A known philanthropist, he established the Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute to provide awareness about self-employment opportunities and train rural youth.

“Veerendra Heggade Ji is at the forefront of outstanding community service. I have had the opportunity to pray at the Dharmasthala Temple and also witness the great work he is doing in health, education and culture. He will certainly enrich Parliamentary proceedings,” said Modi.

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Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai congratulated Heggade, expressing confidence that his work and experience would “raise the quality of debates” in Parliament.

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“Congratulations to PT Usha Ji, Shri V Vijayendra Prasad Ji, Shri Veerendra Heggade Ji and Shri Ilaiyaraaja Ji on being nominated to the Rajya Sabha. You have made outstanding contributions in your respective fields and have made the nation proud with your dedication & hard work,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah posted on Twitter.

There were seven vacancies of nominated members in the Upper House. The Government is expected to fill the vacant slots in the coming days.

Out of the 245 members of Rajya Sabha, 12 are nominated by the President on the recommendation of the Government. They are nominated under Article 80(3) of the Constitution, according to which they should have special knowledge or practical experience in matters like literature, science, art and social service.

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A nominated member, however, is allowed to join a political party within the first six months of taking a seat.

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(With PTI inputs)

First published on: 06-07-2022 at 08:43:33 pm
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