The President on Saturday nominated four persons to the Rajya Sabha. Classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, columnist Rakesh Sinha, sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra and farmer leader Ram Shakal will have a six-year term in the upper House of the Parliament.

Here are brief profiles of the newly-nominated members.

Sonal Mansingh

She is classical dance exponent and the founder of Centre for Indian Classical Dances, New Delhi. Ms. Mansingh, who specialises in the Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Chhau dancing styles, has been performing for nearly six decades. She is known for her choreography of the Devi Puranas. A two-time Padma awardee, Ms. Mansingh is only the second woman dancer to receive such an honour. A documentary based on her life titled ‘Sonal’, directed by Prakash Jha, had won the National Award for best non-feature film in 2002.

Ram Shakal

Ram Shakal is a farmer leader from Uttar Pradesh. He was elected on a BJP ticket to Lok Sabha four times from the Robertsganj parliamentary constituency. The Dalit leader started his political journey as an RSS pracharak. Mr. Shakal is a post-graduate in political science.

Rakesh Sinha

An RSS ideologue, Rakesh Sinha is the founder of the Delhi-based think-tank India Policy Foundation. An Associate Professor at Delhi University, Dr. Sinha wrote the biography of RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar. He is a regular columnist in a range of newspapers and a known face in television debates.  He is currently a board member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and formerly a member of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

Raghunath Mohapatra

He is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. Practicing since 1959, Mr. Mohapatra 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 Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri. Mr. Mohapatra’s famous works include a six-feet high statue of the Sun God carved in grey sandstone in the Central Hall of Parliament, the lotus carving at Vir Bhoomi memorial of Rajiv Gandhi in New Delhi, and the Wooden Buddha in Paris.

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